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Entrepreneurship: A Millennial Definition

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Female entrepreneur working late night at desk
What is entrepreneurship? Well, The word entrepreneurship has easily been one of the most sought after lifestyles in modern history. Some people think that entrepreneurship automatically brings a life of lavish things, constant travel/exploration, internet fame, dating supermodels, and short working hours. But before you get all of these "things," you just have to quit your job, sacrifice a few years of your life, and POOF. You get it all!So, what are you waiting for? Go on and quit that job of yours. DO IT! It's what you want, isn't it?Well, before you do all of that, I suggest learning more about the word entrepreneur. What is entrepreneurship and what does it truly mean? This article is a collection of thoughts that I have compiled into one beautiful love letter to the one word that has somewhat defined my life; entrepreneurship.

Let's start with the basics

Entrepreneur testing cardboard VR headsetThe business dictionary and most overused definition of entrepreneurship are defined as: "The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit."Now that we have the fundamental definition of what is entrepreneurship, we can further expand on the initial foundation. Like everything else, entrepreneurship is a journey. As Robert Frost eloquently uses a phrase in his poem "The Road Not Taken":
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Entrepreneurship's journey can be summarized in three particular phases:

Phase 1: Buzzwords

Attractive female entrepreneur in white dress sitting in yellow arm chairAs a millennial, we can be easily influenced by outside internet celebrities. Famous figures like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tai Lopez, Grant Cardone, Lewis Howes, and John Lee Dumas. (Just to name a few) You watch their content on social media religiously, read about how they were able to become successful, and then begin to envision a life that is nearly identical or rather similar to theirs. You become so inspired that you begin creating content for your own social media platforms with cheesy motivational quotes from entrepreneurs of the past or worse, pictures of yourself with quotes said by you and then signed by you. As if you've accomplished something.SIDE NOTE: Think about it. How many people do you know that not only posts a ton of motivational quotes but have added their own personal signature within the social media posts? We can thank Gary Vay-Ner-Chuck for this one.

The New Meaning of Entrepreneurship

Selfish entrepreneur in blue suit walking down stairThe definition of entrepreneurship no longer has the same meaning. Currently, the definition of entrepreneurship is a person dealing with an egotistical battle of attention and primarily focuses on their own success and not the success of their team. A lonely journey of one's self-validation.At the beginning of your entrepreneurship journey, it's easy to get lost in the world of business and it's fun to fantasize about one's self-success. We as a society are obsessed with it. Early on, identify the things that you most want in life. Is it fame? (And if it is, that's totally cool. Just accept it and embrace it.)Do you want to bring change in the world? Do you want to run a successful company?

Phase 2: Finding Yourself and Obtaining Balance

Work life balanceUnderstanding your why or at the very least having a general understanding of why you're willing to be as crazy as you are, to quit your job to do the thing you love, is critical to one's success. This fundamental understanding will allow you the ability to motivate yourself when times get tough and you feel like quitting.Entrepreneurship is not fun. The highs are high (so high in fact) but the lows are depressingly low. It's a constant roller coaster ride filled with non-stop ups and downs, twists and turns stop and goes. Strangely enough, those emotions will all be experienced in the first minute of your day. Your mind tends to wonder, you feel excited, trying to further expand on your initial ideas from your meeting today, thinking about what you may have done wrong to get that new client, or even experiencing the success of obtaining a new client! (If so, congrats!)At the beginning of your entrepreneurship career, it's important to understand yourself and the need for balance.

Balance

No one ever truly knows oneself in the earlier stages in life and especially their career. But what is important is to have empathy. Not only for your peers but also for yourself. It's ok to fail. It's ok to not be where you want to be, but be cognizant that one day, you will get to where you want to be.Next is balance. It is so darn easy to work 20 plus hours a day. I still do it sometimes. But you need to find a way to let go of the computer and walk away from the work. Even if it's for just an afternoon. Find a hobby, fall in love with something other than work, and find a way to be romantic to yourself. Your own mental well being will give you the superpowers to achieve your goals.

Phase 3: Execution and Persistence 

Writing on notepad while reading analytic paperThe last piece of the puzzle and quite frankly, the most important part of entrepreneurship. You now have at least a few ideas as to what is entrepreneurship to a millennial.Execution and persistence are the hardest of the three phases. It requires the most refining and also the most amount of attention. If I could do it all over again, (and there is no way that I would want to, because it led me to this moment of my life) I would be more data-driven. Passion can only get you so far, but there will come a point and time in the entrepreneurship journey that you need to go off of numbers, analytics, and raw data.Being a more numbers driven organization will give you the know how to expand in the future. It will also give you the understanding of how you and your team may not have been executing. The best part about plans is that they change. But without the proper data and numbers, it's almost impossible to make an educated decision to pivot or shift your company without having that information. If you feel the need to learn more about entrepreneurship and want is entrepreneurship to other millennials, you can get advice from other millennials here. Written by a colleague of mine that influenced and inspired this article. learn what others 

Tips for The Entrepreneur Mind

  • Have A General Understanding Of Your Mission And Why: It's ok if you do not have it all figured out. However, there is a general theme of what you believe in as a person. If you don't have the next 25 years figured out to a "T' it's ok. Jot whatever comes to mind in your head on paper and get it out there throughout the universe.
  • Treat Your Company Like A Sports Team And Not A Family: I learned this from Tim Ferris' podcast with Reid Hoffman. Check it out.
  • Show Empathy: Don't be a robotic D-Bag. Give a crap about others.

Tips For The Entrepreneur At Home

  • Read Books And A Lot Of Them: I compiled a list of entrepreneur resources on my podcast that has a list of the most influential books that I have personally read. Head over to a Barnes and Noble and pick out books to read. There is a reason those books are located in that store. They are trusted, edited, and have the reputation of a quality story teller. My rule of thumb is that if it's in a B&N and has been recommended for me to read, then it's a book I need to read.
  • Stop Reading And Watching Content From Untrusted Or Unverified Resources/Publications: The amount of articles that are available online (especially this one) can completely derail or disrupt your day. Do not become easily influenced by content. Stay true to yourself and your mission.
  • Leave Your Ego At Home: You are not bigger than anyone else on your team and you are certainly not bigger than your company. Don't be comfortable with being the CEO of your company. Early on in your startup, a title is just a title. You can be called manager or even janitor, but what truly matter is does your team listen and follow your vision.
  • Understand Your Strengths And Go ALL In Once You Find Out What They Are: Once you have a general understanding of your strengths, then find out what your weaknesses are. Then hire individuals that can help fill that area.

Tips For The Entrepreneur At Work

  • Understand Your Strengths And Go ALL In Once You Find Out What They Are: Once you have a general understanding of your strengths, then find out what your weaknesses are. Then hire individuals that can help fill that area.
  • Get Mentors: This doesn't have to be physical mentors, but instead you can listen to success and failure stories from top story tellers. For me, I decided to create my own podcast. My goal in creating the podcast was to learn from others' mistakes and failures. The podcast has been the single greatest hobby that I have started to date. The amount of knowledge and the incredible people that I have become friends with has been life changing.
  • Speak Last And Listen Often: The truth of that matter is that your opinions and how you feel don't matter. The only thing that matters is morale of your company and the livelihood of those around you. Put yourself last and be the ready you read about online.
Now, go out there and do what you've been born to do. The fact is that if you've read this far, I haven't told you anything you did not already know. But to those who have read until the end, good luck.

Business

Succeed As A Veteran Owned Business

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Starting and maintaining a business may be hard work, but can be made easier with the right network. Having the right support and connections may be the thin line between success and failure. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur with a business idea, you can receive funding to help bring those ideas to life. We will explain the steps to succeed as a veteran owned business.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have previously served in the military and/or have an injury-related disability, you may be eligible for government contracting and additional funding. In order to receive this certification, the individual must own at least 51 percent of the company that they are applying for, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. There is also a procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to prove your veteran and/or disabled status. In order to prove veteran status you will need to provide a Department of Defense Form (DD214). If you are applying as a service-disabled veteran, you will need to get a letter from the US Department of Veteran Affairs proving that you are actually disabled. In many cases, if you are not interested in securing government contracts for your veteran owned business, these steps are not necessary.

Register with The VA

Another crucial step in the qualification process is to register through the VA or Veterans Affairs. Registering will not only assist with the strategic marketing of your business but will also add a legitimacy factor in being known as a veteran owned business. People are generally supportive of service men and women and want to support your endeavors, so proudly promoting that you have a veteran owned business will add to growth. The VetBiz Registry, which acts as a business database is the first step in registering with the VA. You will need to have your DD214, letter of disability status, tax forms, bank statements, business license, any partner agreements, and some other additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the VA.

Utilize the SDVOSBC

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created in 1999. The goal of this act is to generate over $15 billion of contracting dollars for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Being that some veterans return from duty with disabilities stemming from conflict, this program sets aside a certain amount of contracts to service them first. As long as you are considered disabled from service no matter your rating, you are eligible to securing a contract. However, if you do have a 100 percent disability rating the government has contingencies in place to allow a spouse or caregiver to run the business in place of the veteran. It’s very convenient and an amazing opportunity for vets who have served to be able to get their ideas out no matter their status.

Marketing Your Veteran Owned Business

Veterans are normally praised and promoted for their service in the armed forces, but the magnitude of entrepreneurship in this demographic is overlooked. According to Forbes, there are over 3 million Veteran owned businesses run in the United States, 5.7 million people are employed by Veterans, and Veterans are twice as likely to own a business than non-vets. These statistics show that there is a strong thread between the personalities of veterans and the interest in entrepreneurship. Strength, discipline, and leadership are all valuable traits to possess in business. Registering your business with BuyVeteran.com can also be a great resource to use for promotional items. When you register you will receive badges to display throughout your business/store, along with apparel (T-Shirts, Hats), Magnets, and other marketing items. Using the local media in your community, as well as social media, can help with promotion. Using your veteran status to appeal to an audience who already has admiration and respect for you will surely render growth.

Know Everything About Your Industry

If your chosen business field is completely out of your realm of knowledge be sure to research as much as possible before requesting support/investors. You should be an expert on your business idea as well as having a solid business plan ready to execute. Doing research includes finding out who your target audience is, how to price your products/services, who your competitors are, and what laws are in place in that industry. Will you need a license to provide certain services? How does paying taxes change for a business owner as opposed to an employee? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before you move forward with the business. Once you have completed all these steps you are ready to take on the world as a Vetrepreneur! Good luck!
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Business

Have An Organized Work Area With Grovemade

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A cluttered work space is unappealing. With Grovemade, their unique wool felt desk pad is designed to change your desk experience. By adding a touch of style to your work desk to enhance your productivity, the desk can influence a positive effect on your day. In reducing the stress caused by your packed desk, the desk pad also allows an eased flow for your paperwork by providing a non-slip surface. The surface top will take away all of your concerns from the potential damages related to your desk including the scratches, stains, and heat damage from computers that can devastate a perfectly attractive desk. This will prevent the desk, as well as the office, from looking undesirable. Whether the damage to your desk is from the imprints of pen marks or coffee mugs, the desk pad will ensure the harm won’t happen. “Design inspires what you do”. Grovemade believes that the tools you embrace yourself in have personal correlation to who you are and the meaning behind your work. In other products for your office spaces, Grovemade promotes an organized work area.
 A messy desk creates more negative outcomes than we acknowledge. “Our productivity is impacted by our level of organization,” says Susan Kousek, a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO). Entrepreneurs tend to lose track of time, resulting in a short period of disconnection from the real world. You will then come to realize how cluttered your desk is. With the piles of paperwork, coffee mugs, trash, and more. No matter how busy, you should always arrange your desk. There are five reasons why you should keep an organized work area:

You Can Find Things Quicker

It can be difficult to get anything accomplished if you’re repeatedly losing company documents and you are misplacing important paperwork. Working in an organized environment helps smoothen your work processes and can also make your work more efficient. If everything is in its place, you can find the things that you need in order to complete your daily tasks more quickly. Organizing things to where they belong will create a less surface clutter that will ensure you to know where things are at when you need them. With an organized work area, everything is in reach for you to find and use.

Limit Visual Distractions

The effects of working at a cluttered desk can be noticeably negative. Workers tend to be less productive and efficient when they are in an area with potential distractions. If your leftovers are still affecting you on your desk, it’s time to organize your work area. A cluttered desk will divert your attention away from what’s important. Not only are you distracted, but your coworker’s attention is drifted away as well, wondering when you are going to clean that mess. An office needs order and when you’re not following that guide, everyone is thrown off. 

An Organized Desk Helps You Remember Important Tasks

It’s difficult to prioritize your projects if you’re not organized. Visual cues can help you remember as well as prioritize your important tasks. In comparison, a disorganized desk is the same with a packed e-mail inbox. You have to dig through the spam in order to find that important email, there is always that thought, “What’s important in all of that clutter?”

Company Image

An unattractive work area can be of discomfort to anyone who visits. You want to make your company appear welcoming, especially to potential clients and workers. Whether it is a simple desk cleanup or a makeover with desk pads or plants, these are essential to creating an aesthetically appealing work space. If you’re the only one with a messy desk, you’re the one to blame for impacting the company’s image negatively.

Health Safety

A buildup of dust, lint and pollen can create breathing hazard for everyone in the office, with the possible influence in asthma attacks, stuffy noses, and other harmful health issues. With workers who regularly eat at their desks without cleaning up can attract a multitude of disease-carrying pests, including the cockroaches and mice. Not only do you need to maintain an organized work area, but you need to keep it clean as well.How you design your space can greatly impact your mood and emotion. Most people aren’t always fully aware of it, but your environment has a distinct psychological influence on your subconscious. Becoming more self-aware in how you’re decorating your space will be in consideration towards your personal needs, so the look of your work desk is crucially paralleled to your work attitude. With a cluttered work area, things are more difficult to complete. Organization is the solution to limit these problems. 
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Business

5 Tips On Raising Money

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Entrepreneurs know that raising money to start your business is one of the toughest things you have to do. Competition for funds increase every day so your chances of securing an investment grow slimmer. However, finding an investor is not impossible and fundraising does not need to be stressful. Here are some things you can do to take some of the pressure off and start rolling in investments.

Tell Your Story

Tell them what your company is all about. If you are raising money for a certain purpose, people are more likely to support it if they see or know where their money is going. You have to make investors understand how your product or service will change the lives of your potential customers. In TV shows like Shark Tank it is common to see entrepreneurs give the investors their background and the background of their company in story form. Try to evoke emotion in your investors so that they will be more inclined to write checks.

Determine The Amount of Money You Need

When you’re fundraising for your business, you're using other people's money. Make it easier for them to part with their money by telling them how much you need. Get quotations, documentations such as bills and business costs and your business budget. You need to be able to show investors that there is attractive profitability once the business takes off and the bills are paid.  In this connection, you need to keep your business costs low. Investors like to see attractive profit margins so that they will be able to get a return on their investments as soon as possible.

Approach Relatives and Friends

You can perfect your sales pitch by starting with your family and friends. Invite them to become shareholders of your company by telling them of the advantages of joining you in business. If your relatives like the idea, they become shareholders of the business. However, make sure that you retain majority ownership of your business. If you sell too much, you become diluted. This could spell trouble if you need to raise more funds.

Borrow From Banks

Banks are good options for raising money. You don’t need to give them equity because they will be lending you money. For this option, you need to show banks that you will be able to pay your loan. Documents like cash flow and collateral are needed to secure a bank loan. Generally speaking, banks are more comfortable with lending their money to businesses that have a proven track record. If the business consistently sees profit and this profit is good enough to cover additional debt, then the loan is more likely to be approved. If you’re a startup, you need to prepare a thorough loan package with explanations how your company will grow and repay the loan.

Keep Business Costs Low

Now that you have money, it is normal to be tempted to buy new office equipment like computers, desks and chairs. You have to resist temptation because this is not why you wanted to start raising money in the first place. Burning through your investment is the first mistake new entrepreneurs make. Once business capital has been secured, you need to be careful how you spend it because everything is an expense to your business especially if you’re not profitable yet. Avoid getting burned by cutting down costs like working from your house instead of renting a fancy business address or buying new furniture. It might not sound ideal but the savings can be put in other areas of the business that really need money like new manufacturing equipment, automated software that will make service faster or hiring new people to make more products if supply is behind. Keeping business costs low does not only prevent you from burning through capital but it also improves your profit margin.Starting a business always comes with new financial responsibilities on top of personal expenses like rent, mortgage, student loans, gas and utilities. Many entrepreneurs learn that starting a business is not the easiest way to make money; it is the easiest way to burn through it. Starting a business can be a nerve-wracking track, but it can also be rewarding.
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