I Went to Heidi Klum’s 20th Annual Halloween Party. Here’s What It’s Like Inside.

The supermodel’s 20th annual invite-only Halloween party took place in New York on Thursday night, and Entrepreneur has the inside scoop. November 1, 2019 6 min read In 17th-century France, kings dressed for the day in front of a live audience.  On Thursday, the queen of Halloween did the same — but instead of donning regalia, she opted for a gory alien costume that took more than 12 hours to get into. The live audience, in her case, was New York passersby with smartphones pressed to the glass windows of midtown’s Amazon Bookstore.  Supermodel Heidi Klum’s over-the-top costumes and Oct. 31 blowout bash have been making headlines for 20 years. Some of her most legendary getups: Fiona from Shrek (2018), Teen Wolf (2017), Jessica Rabbit (2015), an old woman (2013) and an ape (2011). This year, Klum’s husband Tom Kaulitz complimented her costume by dressing as a bloody astronaut after […]

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How to Find the Best CRM for Your Franchise

Find the software that will keep you — and your customers — happy. October 25, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » 1. Prioritize Ease of Use — for Yourself and Customers From Dan Tyre, sales director at HubSpot, a CRM provider In 2019, every company has to be a technology company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a franchise, a small business, or a nonprofit — buyers expect you to provide good service, and to do that, you need to have access to information. Five years ago, if you wanted to use customer relationship management software, it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and was time-consuming to install. Now, in a modern CRM, you’re looking for software that’s cost-­effective, quick to install, and straightforward to manage. It’s a red flag if you have to have an administrator set things up; that might […]

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Technologists Are Creating Artificial Intelligence to Help Us Tap Into Our Humanity. Here’s How (and Why).

New AI tools like Cogito aim to remind us how to be ‘human,’ issuing reminders and alerts for empathy and compassion. October 8, 2019 15+ min read When being empathetic is your full-time job, burning out is only human.  Few people are more aware of this than customer service representatives, who are tasked with approaching each conversation with energy and compassion — whether it’s their first call of the day or their 60th. It’s their job to make even the most difficult customer feel understood and respected while still providing them accurate information. Oftentimes that’s a tall order, resulting in frustration on both ends of the call.  But over the last few years, an unlikely aide has come forward: artificial intelligence tools designed to help people tap into and maintain “human” characteristics like empathy and compassion.  One of these tools is a platform called Cogito, named for the famous Descartes […]

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Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat Desperately Needed a Project Management System Geared Towards Influencers, so She Raised Over $1 Million and Built It Herself. Here’s How.

The Instagram influencer leveraged 2.2 million Instagram followers and $1.2 million in seed funding from investors like fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. October 2, 2019 6 min read It was August 2013, just before New York Fashion Week, and as Danielle Bernstein checked her email, a particular message caught her eye.  As the influencer behind popular Instagram fashion account @WeWoreWhat (to date, the account has 2.2 million followers), Bernstein’s inbox often seemed like it was exploding at the seams. She’d been through a few different interns, and she was frustrated with the amount of upkeep it took to run her online brand. So when Moe Paretti, a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) graduate, emailed Bernstein out of the blue to say she was interested in her brand and how she made money — that she didn’t want to be a blogger herself, but that she wanted to learn and be of […]

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What It’s Like Inside DraftKings

The fantasy sports site’s staff celebrates teamwork in and out of the office. September 5, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the September 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » DraftKings really likes its odds. Since launching in 2012, the daily fantasy sports site has raised close to $650 million in funding, and has deftly navigated the thin legal line between skills-based games and gambling. Now the company has finally entered the $150 billion sports betting market, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision that allows states to legalize the practice. As a result, DraftKings is betting on itself, evident in its recent hiring spree (employee count has doubled) as well as its new Boston HQ. Designed by IA Interior Architects, the space includes production studios, custom tickers with real-time fantasy salaries and odds, and sports-themed “huddle” spaces. Employees’ time is focused not just on sports but on the community they […]

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How to Find Your Passion (If Your Passion Isn’t Your Product!)

Jonathan Barnett launched Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning as a way to support his true passions in life. But he found that supporting his employees is his greatest achievement. September 4, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the September 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » When Jonathan Barnett launched Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning in 2006, at the age of 26, he had one goal in mind: Make enough money to be able to explore his true passions — which, truth be told, did not include carpet cleaning. (He was more of a basketball kind of guy.) Still, he took his new business seriously. He knew he’d entered a crowded marketplace, so to differentiate himself, he enlisted chemists to help him develop a cleaning system with a one-hour drying time that uses just two gallons of water per home. That was a big improvement over the industry standard of 40 […]

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Why This Entrepreneur Went from Independent Business Owner to Franchisee

By joining FastSigns, Nikki Taheri found a new world of support. September 3, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the September 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Nikki Taheri grew up in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution and was raised on tales of her trailblazing grandmother — a six-foot-tall woman who chose to forgo a hijab and dressed as a man in order to pursue a career in trade. Taheri never met her grandmother, but she likes to think she inherited some of her gumption. In 1993, as opportunity and education for women seemed nonexistent in her home country, Taheri fled to the United States, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, discovered a passion for design, and eventually opened a sign-and-awning business in Bayonne, N.J. Nearly two decades later, as business was thriving, Taheri made yet another bold decision and converted her business into a franchised location of […]

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Hundreds of Millions Have Downloaded Suspicious VPN Apps With Serious Privacy Flaws. Apple and Google Haven’t Taken Action.

Disturbing research suggests that nearly 90 percent of the most popular free VPN apps on Apple and Google’s app stores have serious user privacy flaws. August 7, 2019 14 min read When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, he specified life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as three of humankind’s “unalienable rights.”  More than 230 years later, people are wondering: What about the right to privacy?  The conversation isn’t new — attorney Jacqueline Klosek wrote a book called Data Privacy in the Information Age in 2000 — but post-Cambridge Analytica, it is newly relevant in the eyes of the general public. We’ve long turned over personal data to companies in exchange for access to goods and services, but for cautious consumers, there have always been tools available to safeguard their personal data.  To wit, the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) is on the rise around the world. […]

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This Immigrant Entrepreneur and DACA Recipient Raised Over $15 Million in Funding (Podcast)

Airfox co-founder Victor Santos shares his best pitching advice and how his identity as an immigrant inspired him to become an entrepreneur. July 26, 2019 1 min read Google. Pfizer. Tesla. eBay. Capital One. AT&T. These companies were all founded, completely or in part, by immigrants, who account for close to 30 percent of all new entrepreneurs in the U.S. Victor Santos, who emigrated from Brazil at age 12, is one of them.  Santos co-founded Airfox, a mobile financial services company for unbanked individuals in emerging markets, and he’s also a DACA recipient. (DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an American immigration policy allowing for some immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to receive a renewable stay on deportation action.) On this episode of How Success Happens, Santos recalls how, during his fundraising process, venture capitalists told him they didn’t feel comfortable with his immigration status. He also shares his five-year plan for […]

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Market Projected to Hit $44.8 Billion by 2024 (60-Second Video)

Your weekly rundown of the biggest news in the cannabis business. July 24, 2019 1 min read Post Malone and Sherbinskis launch a joint effort, weed-dispensing robots roll up sales and cannabiz market projections are seriously high. Welcome to the Cannabiz Countdown, your weekly rundown of the biggest news in the cannabis business.  This week, we’re looking at a high-profile cannabiz partnership. Post Malone’s cannabis company, Shaboink, is launching hemp pre-rolls alongside Icon Farms and Sherbinskis — a designer brand that’s been given shoutouts in more than 200 hip-hop songs. In 2018, Greenbox Robotics rolled out self-dispensing cannabis kiosks stocked with CBD, edibles, flower and more. They’ve got robotic arms, facial recognition and even streaming music capabilities. Greenbox aims to install the robots in malls, airports and hotels around the world as cannabis is legalized.  The total U.S. cannabinoid market is projected to soar from $10.5 billion in 2018 to $44.8 billion in 2024, according to forecasts from […]

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What It’s Like Inside Uber’s Innovation Space

The company’s Advanced Technologies Group’s new office fosters collaboration inside and out of work. July 19, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the July 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » What does success look like at Uber? The company has famously had its share of scandals, and its IPO earlier this year disappointed investors, but in a letter to his staff, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote that “our true north will be determined over the long term.” Much of that long-term vision is explored here, in a recently renovated industrial complex in San Francisco called Pier 70, which once housed shipbuilders and ironworkers but is now home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. The employees in this space work on projects far outside Uber’s core ride-hailing business — they’re designing and developing self-driving vehicles, plans for aviation sharing, and the company’s JUMP bikes and scooters. And they get out of […]

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3 Research-Backed Ways to Boost Your Creativity (60-Second Video)

Creativity ‘nudges’ can come from changes to your surroundings as minimal as a warmer cup of coffee or different colors in the room. June 28, 2019 1 min read Exercise your creativity like a muscle. One surefire way to boost creative thinking is to… try. Yes, seriously. Research shows that when people try to think more creatively, they almost always can — and those effects are both significant and repeatable.  Try changing up your surroundings, even minimally. Data support that creativity “nudges” can come from changes as small as a warmer cup of coffee or different colors in the room. Try switching out some of the items on your desk, working in a different area or having lunch with new colleagues.  When an idea (or even a piece of idea) comes to you, pay attention and jot it down immediately. As people age, our number of creative ideas doesn’t necessarily slow, but we tend […]

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3 Key Tips for Your Next Job Interview (60-Second Video)

Think up a fresh answer to the age-old ‘weaknesses’ question by choosing something you’ve taken concrete steps to improve. June 17, 2019 1 min read Resume buzzwords — specialized, leadership, synergy and the like — can be seen as vague stand-ins for your real meaning. Instead, focus on powerful action verbs that describe exactly what you accomplished and how. Choose five or six bullet points per job that denote projects you led, deals you brought in or performance metrics.  A job interview starts the moment you walk into the building, and it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re checking in with the receptionist, riding in the elevator or waiting in the lobby. Choosing to be in the present moment (read: not staring at your phone) can set you apart, so take in your surroundings, make conversation with the other people in the room or review handwritten notes.  Think up […]

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States Hold Billions in Unclaimed Funds. Here’s How to Search for Yours. (60-Second Video)

By law, states must hold onto long-forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, IRS refunds and more — adding up to billions in unclaimed property. More often than not, the phrase “free money” is often followed by the word “scam.” But in at least one case, it’s not too good to be true — unclaimed property. By law, states have to hold onto financial accounts that haven’t had contact with the owner in over a year, and the amount at stake is tens of billions of dollars. It’s in the form of long-forgotten bank accounts, store credit, cashiers’ checks, security deposits, IRS refunds and more.  Here’s how to search for your own unclaimed property: Head to both MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org to conduct a search for any state you’ve ever lived or worked in. In the search results, you should see the last known address for the money’s rightful owner, the company reporting the funds and sometimes an estimation […]

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5 Most Common Red Flags Entrepreneurs Should Know Before Signing a Commercial Real Estate Lease in New York

It’s exciting to find a home for your business, but here’s what experts say you should know before you sign that commercial real estate lease. June 6, 2019 9 min read “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York.”  When Frank Sinatra first sang those words in 1978, we can surmise he was envisioning the city’s iconic skyline, not the nitty-gritty details of commercial tenant contracts. But decades later, the lyrics are true for small business owners renting space in the very buildings that make up that view. New York is shadow-governed by some of the most powerful real estate conglomerates in the country — Vornado Realty Trust, Blackstone Group and Brookfield Asset Management, among others. The existence of these “mega-landlords,” as well as high expenses across the board, often means the odds are stacked against commercial tenants. For one, many […]

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3 Ways to Be a Better Listener (60-Second Video)

Good listeners tend to make better leaders, business partners and investments. Here’s how to amp up your skills. June 5, 2019 1 min read Think of listening as a choice. Research suggests multi-tasking is a myth, and multi-tasking while communicating is no exception. Even checking a text during a conversation can make whoever you’re speaking with feel devalued.  Make sure you’re having a conversation, not giving a speech. Findings from MIT suggest that, no surprise, it’s human nature to favor an engaging conversation over a one-sided one — even from a young age — so ask questions and make it clear how what you’re saying is relevant to the other person.  If you’re famously long-winded, try paring down your word count by thinking about what you’ll say before you speak — or give yourself an overall time limit by asking the other person if they can set aside a certain amount of […]

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At Chief, the Club for Female Executives, High-Powered Women Aim to Break the Glass Ceiling — For Good

Take a peak inside the network’s TriBeCa clubhouse, where female execs from HBO, Amazon and Instagram come together. June 4, 2019 4 min read This story appears in the June 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » The statistics are familiar and disheartening: Women in business hold less than 25 percent of all executive positions and less than 5 percent of CEO titles. For the women who do climb the corporate ladder, it can be lonely at the top — but a group called Chief is out to change that. The New York–based private network and club connects high-ranking women across industries, with the goal of fostering community and elevating more women into leadership roles. Chief launched in January with $3 million in funding and 200 founding members from such organizations as HBO, Amazon, Walmart and Instagram. (The waitlist currently exceeds 4,000.) Its flagship offering, the Core program, splits members into groups of […]

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3 Ways to Overhaul Your Email Habits (60-Second Video)

Feel like you’re drowning in a flood of email? Here’s how to cut down on email stress and increase productivity. May 30, 2019 1 min read Stop checking your email in realtime. Commit to opening your inbox no more than three times a day: at the beginning, middle and end. You’ll need to turn off badge icons and notifications on your phone to make this work.  Set inbox filters. Most large email clients allow you to sort your email however you want by setting inbox rules for which types of messages — or which senders — go into each section. For example, you can create an “Urgent” folder for messages from your business partner, investors and large clients.   Try to eliminate all unnecessary back-and-forth on email. Before you respond to a message, ask yourself what you can do to create the least amount of future emails on the chain. That […]

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This Woman Entrepreneur Liquidated Her 401(k) to Co-Found Her Company. Now, It’s Bringing in $100 Million.

Trina Spear co-founded FIGS to reinvent scrubs for medical professionals. Here’s how she did it. May 28, 2019 7 min read One Monday morning in June 2012, Trina Spear booked a transnational flight with four days’ notice and no regrets. Hours earlier, she’d spoken to Heather Hasson for the first time over the phone about Hasson’s business idea, born from her quest to help a friend find more flattering work clothes. Companies like Lululemon, Under Armour and Nike were focused on athletes, argued Hasson, but no one was catering to medical professionals. That’s why Hasson created FIGS, a direct-to-consumer line of fitted, flattering and comfortable scrubs. A mutual friend had tipped off Spear, who worked on Wall Street at the time, about Hasson’s vision for FIGS. The Los Angeles-based company was still in its early stages, and Spear wanted to have a hand in its growth. After coordinating on Spear’s flight […]

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3 Tips for Hitting Your Growth Goals This Year (60-Second Video)

Get specific with a timeline, concrete numbers and a clear list of exactly what you want to accomplish. May 24, 2019 2 min read Get specific. It’s important to lay out a timeline, concrete numbers and specifics on exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, nailing down how much funding you need to reach your goal — and what exactly you plan to do with every dollar — will help you get organized, visualize your company’s future and convincingly sell your idea, whether you’re chatting with VCs on the West Coast or acquaintances at a networking happy hour.  Practice clearly and concisely explaining what your business is about and what it does in a way that anyone can understand. Try it in front of a mirror, with an older relative and with a child. When you speak to a potential connection, it’s important that they not only understand you but […]

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