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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.

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

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Last year put entrepreneurs and business owners through the ringer. Those with small businesses were faced with a whole new set of unique challenges. Many people were forced into a career change and some elected to go into business for themselves. If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur: Congratulations! You made it through last year. Whether your business spent 2020 playing defense or you were able to thrive, the new year is a great excuse to take a look at your business and see where you can improve. Here are the top ten New Year’s Resolutions for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

1.    Mondays are for Planning

When you are in business for yourself, there is always the feeling that you could be doing something more. Perhaps, you could be optimizing your time better. Make Monday mornings your time to map out your work week. Give yourself 1-2 hours with your planner. Schedule your meetings, work time, and account for travel and lunch breaks. Having your schedule written down makes it easier to adhere to it and you won’t have that feeling that you forgot something.

2.    Keep Your Workspace Organized

Whether your workspace is an office in your home or a storefront, you can always benefit from organization. A clutter free desk is optimal for productivity. Invest in a filing cabinet. Vacuuming and sweeping are often overlooked. Organize the wires that run off your desk from your laptop, monitor, charger, lamp, and tools.

3.    Keep Business Hours

Yes, there is always more work to be done. But at the same time, there is always tomorrow. Resolve to assign business hours and stick to them. You will find that when you allow yourself the time to fully clock off, you will be more productive when you clock in.

4.    Improve Your Social Media Game

It can seem trivial to post and share on Facebook and other social media, but this could not be further from the truth. Engaging in your community through the internet is the biggest way to get your business out there. You don’t necessarily have to hire a social media manager. Programs like HootSuite help you manage your posts across all platforms. Just engage more. Try and post something once a day whether it’s a picture of your latest project or a special. Like and follow your competitors. Like and follow people who follow them.

5.    Tighten Your Spending

The beginning of the year is a great chance to look at the books. The budget is often something we consider when we make a purchase, but don’t often look back on the macro level. Do you subscribe to a graphic design agency? Perhaps a cheaper alternative has come along. Have your vendors slowly been increasing their prices? Take the time to look under the hood.

6.    Learn Something New

You have spent some time minimizing your steps and running your business the most efficient way you know how. Now it’s time to learn about other ways to improve your business. Take a field trip to the competitor’s store down the road. Look on their website. What’s a good business magazine to subscribe to? Look up your local community college’s class catalog.

7.    Check in with Your Customers

Customers rule your business. Not only are they your source of income, but they also hold the keys to how you can improve your business. Check in with past customers to see how they enjoyed your services. There may be opportunities for repeat business. Perhaps, they were unsatisfied by something, but haven’t spoken up. Constructive criticism is… well, constructive.

8.    Read Your Mission Statement

You don’t have a mission statement? Make one. Your mission statement is your north star. It helps keep you on track with your goals. If you do have one, take the time to meditate on it. Has your business strayed from what you set out to be? Perhaps you have evolved beyond it. Take the time to realign and adjust either your work or your goals.

9.    Exercise

For the truly dedicated, work can take precedence over everything else. If you’re deadline driven, nothing will get in your way. This attitude is essential in the short run but can be problematic in the long term. Make a point to take care of yourself outside of your business. Eat right, go for a run or walk. Clear your mind. Afterall, you are the head of your company. You want to be firing on all cylinders.

10. Journal

Just as important as organizing your days in the beginning, you should also keep a journal at the end of the day. Set aside time to record the things you accomplished, and things you are hoping to accomplish. What did you learn today? Did you come across any problems? How did you resolve them? Journaling gives us the chance to reflect on the things that we ignored or overlooked.

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Stocks and 2020: A Love Story

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With 2020 finally in our rearview mirror, some investors in the stock market are licking their wounds – hoping that 2021 offers some relief. Many business owners are now watching from the sidelines as their companies did not make it through the year. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have radically affected our economy and how the world does business. While industries like travel and entertainment have taking a beating on the market, some companies have been able to thrive. Here are some of 2020’s most successful businesses on the stock market.

FedEx (FDX)

Unsurprisingly, the dramatic lifestyle changes that the world faced last year has paved the way for a successful FedEx in 2020. While foot traffic at storefronts went down, people took to the internet to do their shopping, and FedEx was there to deliver.

  • Stock at start of 2020: $152.42
  • March 2020: $90.39
  • Stock at end of 2020: $262.20

Moderna (MRNA)

Moderna is one of the drug development companies to create a vaccine for COVID-19. Developing a vaccine in a fraction of the time it would normally take, the company has seen success in both development and value. It saw nearly 600% growth.

  • Stock at start of 2020: $18.70
  • March 2020: $21.30
  • Stock at end of 2020: $104.77

Amazon (AMZN)

Amazon is another business that is seemingly pandemic proof. The lockdowns were devastating for the mom-and-pop shops, but Jeff Bezos only small more success for his online shopping juggernaut.

  • Stock at start of 2020: $1,874.97
  • March 2020: $1,874
  • Stock at end of 2020: $3,259.93

Zoom (ZM)

As millions across the world adapted to working at home, Zoom became a household name. Companies used Zoom to conference with their employees and clients. Friends and families used Zoom to stay in touch when they weren’t allowed to leave the house.

  • Stock at start of 2020: $67.28
  • March 2020: $107.47
  • Stock at end of 2020: $337.32

Netflix (NFLX)

Last year, movie theaters and gyms were closed. Sporting events and concerts were cancelled. In some places, it was even prohibited to go for a walk in the park. When looking for some entertainment and a break from the doom and gloom of the news, households all around turned to Netflix.

  • Stock at start of 2020: $325.90
  • March 2020: $332.83
  • Stock at end of 2020: $540.73

Tesla (TSLA)

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company, Tesla has seen amazing success in 2020. With 830% growth from the beginning of the year, Tesla became one of the top ten most valuable businesses in the world.

  • Stock at start of 2020: $84.90
  • March 2020: $72.24
  • Stock at end of 2020: $705.67

Even with vaccine distribution well underway, the world is not out of the woods yet. COVID-19 and the lockdowns will leave a lasting impression. And the market will adapt. With businesses adjusting to incorporate a permanent work-from-home model, some think Zoom maybe worth a long-term investment. But what will Netflix and FedEx look like as the world opens up again?

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7 Crucial Trends in Graphic Design Technology You Should Know About

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The value and need for the services of graphic designers are of pressing importance nowadays. Any business or company will know how crucial great graphic design work is to its brand and marketing strategies. And it’s no secret that technology geared towards improving the graphic design process has risen in the past few years. With emerging technologies in graphic design and a whole global talent pool at anyone’s disposal, there is absolutely no excuse for a company not to get a graphic designer.

As trends change and industries adapt to the ever-changing atmosphere of creative work, one must know where graphic design is going in the next few years. Whether you’re a graphic designer yourself or you hire graphic designers, it’s important to put one’s ear on the ground and listen to the rumbles of the digital industry and marketing world. 

Here are some seven crucial trends that graphic designers, marketers, and business owners should get a vibe of in 2021 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence in Graphic Design

Artificial intelligence is on an inevitable rise and is changing the way we do business. In 2015, only 10% of businesses used some form of artificial intelligence in their operations. Only four years later, that number rose to 37%, a 270% jump in such a short amount of time.

New technology in graphic design is moving towards making use of artificial intelligence in the design process. AI companies are venturing towards developing systems that use the massive online repositories of fonts, icons, and colors to develop algorithms that will produce sleek design work for companies. 

But for graphic designers afraid of the day that robots will take over their jobs, there is little to worry about as artificial intelligence in graphic design looks to augment and not replace human designers.

2. The Rise of Non-Adobe Graphic Design Software

It’s hard to imagine that there was once a time that Adobe held a near-monopoly on the graphic design software industry. Tools like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, and Illustrator seemed to be the only viable options for editing graphics and making various collaterals and materials. But today, there are more options available to designers. 

Tools like Sketchapp, Pixlr, and Vectr are great alternatives to Adobe Suite products. Designers can also now use cloud-based design software Canva, which starts with a free plan. To check out all the available graphic design software available, check out this graphic design software guide by CompareCamp.

3. Increased Demand for Landing Page Design Software

Nowadays, people who run online businesses will have some form of landing or sales page to promote their products. A landing page is one long-form web page that sells one or a few products with a compelling storyline or sales script. 

Building websites previously needed fluency in HTML and CSS to happen. But today, various landing page design services are available online.

Services like Leadpages, Convertkit, Instapage, Shogun, and Kajabi allow people to create websites with a drag and drop interface and practically zero code work. These services also provide various landing page layouts that have proven conversion history with other users.

4. On-Demand Graphic Design Services

Another rising trend in the field of graphic design is the surge of on-demand graphic design services, a business model that gives customers access to a team of graphic designers whenever they need them. This model contrasts with the more traditional method of hiring a freelance graphic designer. 

With on-demand graphic design companies, clients get a hold of a graphic design agency and ask the company to link them with a designer when needed. Compared to hiring a freelance designer, getting an on-demand graphic design service can provide certain benefits, including instant availability and a wider variation of styles. Of course, there is still a place for freelance graphic designers, but on-demand graphic services prove to be a good alternative to companies who don’t need a high volume of graphics for their business. 

One good example of a company that provides on-demand design services is Penji, which offers entrepreneurs and small businesses access to a graphic designer who can create unlimited designs for as low as $399 a month.

5. Infographics Templates and Builders

In the last few years, infographics have taken the internet by storm. Nowadays, even B2B marketing places a big premium on infographics, with 65% of B2B marketers using some form of an infographic to promote a product or service.

But anyone who wants to keep up with graphic design trends should know that there is now an extensive collection of infographics templates and infographic-generating online services available online. Now, graphic designers don’t have to start from scratch when making infographics, saving a lot of time and resources. Online tools like Piktochart and Venngage are great examples of such services.

6. Computer Systems Design

As high as the demand for graphic designers is today, the industry is hitting a tipping point. Experts say that the number of available graphic design jobs will decrease by 4% in the next few years. But even as the overall market for designers falls, there’s a subset of graphic designers that disproportionately goes against the flow.

As the number of needed designers in print and traditional media poises itself for a drop, there will be an increase in needed graphic designers in computer systems design. In fact, a report shows that there will be a 20% increase in computer systems graphic designers from 2016 to 2026.

7. Smarter Revision Software

One of the most tedious parts of the graphic design workflow is dealing with revisions. Designers have dealt with the seemingly never-ending back and forth of revisions and comments. A good chunk of the refurbishing of designs often happens because of a lack of communication between clients and designers, especially when communicating online. 

As innovators look to address that need, some have become better at improving the revision process with graphic design technologies. A good example of such tools includes Wipster, Filestage, Usersnap, and Skitch.

Where Graphic Design is Heading Towards in 2021

The year is coming to a close pretty soon, and we’ll be welcoming another new year before we know it. As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time professionals in the creative space and business, in general, should start looking towards graphic design trends 2021 predictions. Like every other year, graphic design trends have changed immensely as people seek more novel ways to communicate messages. 

But just as important for graphic designers and clients to know are the various technology trends shaping the way designers operate and work. Much has changed in little time as more services that help with the creative process pop out. Yet even as more and more softwares becomes available, creatives will be happy to know that the future looks bright for graphic designers everywhere as many of today’s tools look to streamline the creation process and allow artists to work smarter and more effectively. 

Of course, that is if graphic designers stay with the times and continue watching over the horizon for the next tool that will provide them with hacks to improve their design processes. For anyone ready to adapt to the latest trend in graphic design and try new tools and processes, there can be a whole new world of possibilities and growth in the field of creative work.

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