Cities Where Millennial Entrepreneurs Are Likely to Thrive

Being originally from farm-town USA, I understand the woes of being a connection-less entrepreneur. People don’t understand your mindset. They don’t get why you don’t want to marry your high school sweetheart and take over the family business. Why would you ever leave these fields of dreams? Don’t you want to be buried here? While I went through a Country phase in high school, tractors and cow shit aren’t really my thing. I prefer mountain trails and artsy cafes. Which is why I’m a freelance writer and not a farmer. This is why the Northwest United States is now my home. I get the beauty of the Cascades and the opportunities to network all in one place. If you’re looking for a city where opportunities abound, I’ve got the goods. It may not be my city (although two PNW cities are on this list), but I guarantee that any one of […]

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Scam or Totally Legit Business? What You Need to Know About Multi-Level Marketing

I grew up watching my mom jump from one multi-level marketing business to the next. She was a stay-at-home mom who needed a hobby. It began with blocky 90’s jewelry and ended with Longaberger Baskets. I saw various things fill my parent’s shelves from candles and stamps to useless cooking utensils. My mom recently tried to give me some Longaberger baskets when I complained my shelves were empty. For my mom, MLM was a social opportunity. She had friends who wanted to buy stuff from her. And she got to throw parties at their houses (more fun cause you don’t have to clean up after). But if you’re actually trying to make money, is multi-level marketing really worth it? Or is it a “pyramid” scheme like so many claim? Let’s take a closer look. The Basics of Multi-Level Marketing Alright, let’s banish the idea of the pyramid scheme. A pyramid […]

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10 Companies That Took Off in Unexpected Ways

We constantly hear about the Microsofts and Apples of the world. The garage band companies from humble places. But those companies were a semblance of what they would eventually become. What about the companies that took a chance on something new? What about the jokes people expected to go nowhere? These are the surprising stories that continually surprise us. We’ll start with a company you may not have heard of. And don’t worry, it’s not actually a joke. 1. Potato Parcel When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? Letter writing is a lost art. So, there has to be a better way than Amazon to buoy the failing U.S. Postal Service, right? How about potatos? No, not bulk shipments from Idaho, but messages sent via potato. What began a satirical joke turned into a successful business called Potato Parcel. Of course, sending a potato as […]

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The Cloud is For More Than Just Hiding Your Porn Stash

Ask most consumers to explain the cloud and they’ll tell you about online storage. And while this is a semi-accurate description of the cloud, there is so much more to cloud computing than just a 21st century way of keeping your mom from finding your porn stash. The cloud is still a mystery to many people even today. They see it as some nebulous concept that only techies should have to worry about understanding. As long your stuff is safe, who cares how the wall was built around it, right? Only problem is, if you don’t understand cloud services, you won’t get the most out of them. This is especially true if you’re a business person or an entrepreneur. There is so much more you could do with cloud computing. Here are a few things. 1. Wait, What is Cloud Computing Then? Cloud computing has actually been around almost as long […]

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13 Unique Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs

Children can start learning about money as early as age three. One of the best ways to do this is by not always buying something when you go into a store. If your kid wants something, you tell them “there isn’t enough money right now for that, but if we wait patiently, we will eventually be able to buy it.” Children are better at reasoning through these things than we give them credit for. They will make the connection between the waiting and the money and the eventuality of buying even if they can’t see or understand actual numbers yet. Now, your kid may not have an entrepreneurial bent as early as 3 years of age. At some point, they will want a “lemonade stand” in their life. You should be ready to help them achieve their little entrepreneurial dreams. It’s entirely possible for your little one to learn about […]

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Screw the Naysayers. Learn From Beryl Stafford and Her Vegan Snack Success

Sometimes, having the world against you is a good thing. You realize whatever you’re trying to accomplish is bigger than what most people believe is possible. And if you were to accomplish it, the world would bow down in adoration. You wouldn’t think the world would be against a new kind of vegan cereal bar. But only 6% of U.S. consumers claim to be vegan. And most people don’t understand vegetarianism let alone veganism. (You’re vegetarian? Ok, I’ll fix chicken!) When Beryl Stafford began baking oat bars and wrapping them in Saran wrap, she wasn’t exactly gunning to change the world’s mind about vegan snacks. Instead, she was hoping to avoid a boring 9-5 and the whole panty-hose and uncomfortable pants-suit culture. Here’s how she fought through the naysayers and came out on top. Hint: she never gave into the pants-suit culture. 1. Stafford Started Small and Local Whenever you […]

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What You Need to Consider Before Outsourcing Anything

In college, I took a course on global capitalism from a fairly liberal political science professor. Back then, globalism was a conservative idea to be eschewed by the left. Outsourcing was an evil corporate activity exploiting workers all over the globe. Now, nobody bats an eye at the word. It’s divorced from sweatshops and third world economies. The most reputable companies now outsource all over the globe. But not everything about outsourcing is roses and sunshine. Here are a few things you should consider before outsourcing whole departments. 1. Does Your Management Know How to Manage an Outsourced Department? Every business decision comes at a cost. Even outsourcing, which is supposed to save you money in the long run, can end up costing you dearly. Cost cutting is the number one reason businesses outsource. But if you don’t have the structure in place to manage an outsourced department, are you really […]

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If Your User Experience Sux So Will Your Conversion Rate

I once got to be part of a user experience test. My friend was in grad school and he and his colleagues had created a simple game programming tool. It was one of the most confusing pieces of software I’ve ever touched. I found out later, they’d created a problematic piece of software on purpose. They were testing a user experience testing process. The whole thing was quite meta. But if this had been a real product, they’d have made zero money. Why? Because while the concept was great (ready-made game elements you simply drag and drop), the user experience sucked. You won’t make money with your website either if your user experience sucks. Here are a few ways to optimize your website for the best user experience. 1. Start With Loading Speed The Doherty Threshold states that if a computer takes longer than 400 milliseconds to respond, users would […]

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Is Drop Shipping Really a Good Idea?

Weebly founder David Rusenko isn’t a fan of drop shipping. He believes we’ve flooded the world with enough cheap crap. We don’t need any more middlemen flooding out Instagram feeds with knock-offs. But is he right? What’s wrong with middlemen doing the marketing legwork? I’ve been around the web a time or two and have seen drop shipping touted as the next affiliate marketing. But I’ve encountered few who’ve made it work. Here’s why you should be careful with one of the hottest trends in e-commerce right now. 1. What is Drop Shipping? I use the word middleman literally. If you sell or make lanyards but don’t really care to market your lanyards, a drop shipper is a great way to get your product out there. A drop shipper essentially sets up shop and sells your product as if it’s theirs. Often, a drop shipper works directly through a wholesaler […]

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How to Deal With Entrepreneurial Debt

According to everyone around you, debt is normal. The average American household owns $139.5 thousand in debt. School and housing loans make up a large chunk of that number for each person. Even if you’re not among the highly indebted, as an entrepreneur, you’re told to spend. Even if you don’t have the money, you’re supposed to miraculously attract customers with outbound marketing, SEO services, and expensive video production equipment. At every turn is the temptation to go into even more debt. While some debt might be unavoidable, there are ways to handle your debts in such a way as not to drown. 1. Destroy Any Other Previous Debt If you’re already drowning in debt, it may not be the time to invest money in a business. If you’re hoping for a business loan, you need to have good credit. Most people are only in the “fair” range (on average, […]

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Three Guaranteed Ways to Boost Your Mobile eCommerce Conversion Rates

In 2017, Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopify alone saw a 10% increase in mobile sales and 67% of sales were mobile sales. If you haven’t figured it out by now, mobile trumps desktop use by two-thirds. Are you targeting the majority? If not, you’d better get on board this very second. Every moment you spend keeping a non-mobile-friendly e-commerce site alive is dollars lost. Even if you’re just turning the page and reconfiguring your e-commerce site, you can benefit from these five e-commerce conversion-boosting tips. 1. Does It Pass the Five-Second Test? A handshake takes a mere second to accomplish. One study in 2011 showed that if you have a weak handshake, you appear overly passive to anyone you meet. One second could equal a lasting impression in social situations. Fortunately, as an e-commerce guru, you have 5x more time to make an impression on your leads. That’s only […]

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Advanced SEO Techniques to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

Recently, during my conversations with people online, it’s been more and more common to stop and say “Google break!” We only resume once we’ve filled our conversational knowledge gaps. It’s really not surprising, then, that the two top activities online are search and e-mail. Facebook is losing out majorly on popularity. And the rest of the things you can do on the internet probably share the pie in increments. Some try to declare every year that SEO is dead. But as long as “Googling” remains one of the top activities on the internet, companies, and websites will vie for the top spot in various search strings. If you’ve done the SEO basics, it’s time to take your website to the next level. Here are a few advanced SEO techniques. 1. Bring Your Website into the 21st Century With Mobile Friendly Design Mobile search has now outstripped desktop search in ten countries including the […]

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How to Sink Your Teeth into Real Estate Without Buying Property

Right now is one of the best times to get into real estate investing. Price growth is slated to slow and then pick up speed again. And we’ve seen only a marginal bump in mortgage rates. All of this spurs confidence in the market even if inventory is down. And with confidence comes increase in prices and increase in value. You’ve got to get on the cart now before it climbs too high. But if you don’t necessarily want to bind yourself with a mortgage and a house you can’t sell for a while, there are other ways to invest in real estate. Here are a few methods investors use to increase their dividends. 1. Grab Those REITs While They’re Still Hot A real estate investment trust is a company that owns or finances real estate. Said real estate must produce income for it to be a real estate investment […]

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Not Getting Any Bites? Try These Five Marketing Hook Tactics

Fishing without the right bait is pointless. You’ll sit there on the shore or rocking back and forth in your boat all day hoping for some action. Marketing isn’t much different. If you put the wrong bit of content or information for the wrong niche, no lead is going to follow. What is a marketing hook? It’s a sample, something to give your leads a taste of what they’re missing if they don’t click. For fish, this means the food they already consume on a daily basis yet better looking. For leads, it means the media they consume on a daily basis yet more entertaining or interesting. Here are some tactics that might help you reel in those leads. 1. Command Their Attention Babies and marketing campaigns are killed by passive voice. You don’t want either to happen to you, do you? This is why it’s crucial you use a […]

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Should You Go For That Emoji Web Address?

As of 2016, there were 334.6 million domain names registered across all top-level domains. And each year that number grows by at least 38 million domains. And we’re nowhere near the number of possible letter combinations for a web address. There are plenty of unregistered domains out there to snatch up! So, why in the world would you want to complicate life by buying an emoji domain? And where did the idea come from anyway? Let’s take a look. They’ve Been Around For a While The first emoji domains actually showed up in 2001. They were ♨.com, ☮.com, and ♂.com. Right now, only ♂.com is available out of the three. It wasn’t easy to type an emoji. We didn’t have smartphones or emoji keyboards. And web browsers were so unsophisticated, they couldn’t support emojis in the URL bar. To enter an “emoji” domain, you relied on punycode. You encoded the domain through punycode. Browsers recognized punycode […]

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How to Market on Reddit: an Anti-Marketing Social Platform

Google might actually be the front page of the internet, especially if you use Chrome. But Reddit comes in for a relatively close second at 1.6 billion visitors a month. And with about 1.2 million subreddit communities, it’s a massive marketing opportunity waiting to happen. The only problem: what rises to the top is completely user controlled. There is no buying your way to the top. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll realize there is no legitimate, non-scammy way to buy upvotes on Reddit. That’s the beauty of the platform. If you aren’t an authentic member of a subreddit or you don’t play by the rules, your stuff gets downvoted. The cream is supposed to rise to the top. The definition of “cream” depends on the subreddit. And if you want to rise to the top, you must be a specific flavor or the community will spit you […]

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If Your Head is in the Cloud Don’t Get Hacked

Al Gore didn’t invent the internet, but he did create Google’s secret Al-Gore-Rhythm. All jokes aside, ever since Al Gore didn’t invent the internet, network technology accelerated at light speed. We went from 56k dial-up to fiber quicker than the industrial revolution invented cars. This also means that network security needed to evolve just as fast. At times, it didn’t stay in step with the revolution. The cost of cybercrime rose and everyone freaked out. This is not an overstatement. Cybercrime cost businesses in the United States over $17 million in the fiscal year 2017. If you’re jumping onto the cloud bandwagon late (better late than never!), it’s time to make a budget for security and keep your data safe. Here are a few tips. 1. Is [Your Password] Secret? Is it Safe? Roaming half-hobbits might not be around to steal your passwords (or your rings of power), but cybercriminals […]

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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Shakespeare

William Shakespeare — king-killer, gender-bender, master of pun — ran one of the most lucrative businesses in the British Isles. Playcraft. It is a miracle that he (or she if you believe certain theories) did not wind up hung by the neck for roasting the king on multiple occasions. But he made a pretty penny doing so. To understand Shakespeare’s attitude toward business, you merely have to look into his plays. He wasn’t big on the leadership at the time and he said much about ambition. Yet the overall themes prove quite useful in guiding a young entrepreneur in his path toward success. 1. Don’t Assume You Know All the Facts Before Making a Decision When you’re young and in love and the world seems to be against you, you’re stupid. You may not realize there is a Friar meddling in the affairs of your family. You may not see […]

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Five Myths About Passive Income You probably Still Believe

Time is the great equalizer. In the grand scheme of things, you don’t get much more of it than I do. On average, we only live 80 years. No wonder many of us are scrambling to free up more time. We realize that if we want to accomplish our life goals, we need to spend less time making a living. Passive income seems like a great solution. While passive income is achievable, it’s not as easy as other bloggers make it out to be. Myths perpetrate through lazy blogging. Some of us have swallowed these myths with gusto. Here are five you should probably quit believing. 1. You Need a Bunch of Money to Make Passive Income Brian Clark turned Coppyblogger into a $7 million company with a mere $1,000. Now that might seem like a decent sum to a few of you out there but think of the ROI on […]

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