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The latest news on Entrepreneurship from Business Insider

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    Neil Vogel launched in 1997. It used to be one of the world's most visited websites.

    Today, internet entrepreneur and investor Neil Vogel has been tasked with saving the IAC-owned dot-com brand from extinction.

    "I got a phone call from Joey Levin, who is the CEO of IAC. He asked, 'What do you think of'" Vogel said during a recent interview with Business Insider. "My answer — in perfect arrogance — was 'I don't.' Who thinks of Nobody."

    Levin persuaded him to come in for a job interview anyway, and Vogel walked out convinced he could help turn the company around. Now he is CEO of, and to save it he's trying something that sounds crazy.

    He’s shutting down the entire website in early May. In its place, he's launching a half-dozen new sites.

    "This is either going to work and be a great success or we're going to crash the plane as we're flying it and this is going to be a horrible failure," Vogel says he told IAC.

    So far the radical plan seems to be working. We spoke with Vogel about the turnaround, and, before that, how he founded the Webby Awards, which have been dubbed "the Oscars of the internet."

    On an episode of "Success! How I Did It," a Business Insider podcast about the careers of accomplished and inspiring people, Vogel also explained how a cross-country road trip in a Ford Bronco changed his life.

    You can listen to this episode below.

    Subscribe to "Success! How I Did It" on Acast or iTunes. Check out previous episodes with:

    Following is a transcript of the conversation, edited for clarity and length.

    Alyson Shontell: is a 250-person media company that you've revived. It was a dot-com baby, founded in 1996.

    Neil Vogel: Nineteen ninety-six. We're 20 years old. We're not a baby — we're not even adolescent. We're like a full-fledged millennial.

    Shontell: You've been a venture partner at Firstmark Capital. You've created a company that made awesome events like Internet Week and the Webby Awards, which have been called "the Oscars of the internet."

    Vogel: I've done a lot of things. I'm old, man — I'm old.

    Shontell: Let's go back to when you were young and hungry. How did you start this career? Investment banking, right?

    Vogel: I listened to your podcast with [Bustle and Bleacher Report founder] Bryan Goldberg and he talked about this, but when I got out of college, which was in 1992 — I went to Penn — the only things seemingly you could do were become an investment banker, a consultant, or a brand manager somewhere. And I didn't do any of those things.

    For a year I took an internship at IMG, the big sports agency, which I was terrible at, and I hated it. After seven months, I went back to my roots and was an investment banker. I was a banker for five or six years. I very quickly learned that I admired and respected my clients a lot more than my bosses. I did not want to be some dude eating Chinese food in the office on Sunday night at 7:30 making a model for someone else's business. That, to me, seemed stupid. It seemed to me like I wanted to be the guy the model's being made for, which makes some sense.

    I ended up leaving and going to work with a couple of guys who started a company called Alloy — or Alloy Media Marketing, for you internet 1.0 people. I was the sixth person there. We ended up growing to be a $300 million-revenue business — very profitable. It went public and had a really good run.

    Shontell: What was it like back in the dot-com days for people who might be too young to remember?

    Vogel: It's hard to describe. We were kids. We were 27, 28, 29 when Alloy went public. We were just playing business with other people's money. And it felt irresponsible, but we tried really hard. We worked incredibly hard.

    The founder of the company, Matt Diamond, was incredibly smart. He was always very focused on building a business that made money. We always made money so we didn't have the outcome of a lot of 1.0 guys. We ended up being pretty successful. But it just was crazy. Everything was at hyper speed. Nobody knew anything. We were the first at everything we did. It was really fun.

    Ultimately, I wanted to run my own thing. I left, took a year off, and, with a partner, started a business called Recognition Media. We ended up owning and producing nine or 10 different award shows and events, including the Webby Awards, and we started Internet Week, which we subsequently sold.

    A life-changing, yearlong road trip in a Ford Bronco

    Shontell: Before we get into that, I want to discuss the time you spent in between jobs. You did a cool soul-searching experiment in which you bought a truck and you drove across the country.

    Vogel: I did. I took, like, almost a year off.

    Shontell: Tell me about this crazy road trip that changed your life.

    Vogel: I don't know — I was 32, single, and we just had this reasonably good outcome. I had no responsibilities and no expenses. I had a dumb rental apartment. So I bought an old Ford Bronco, took the roof off and drove around for a summer.

    My father gave me great advice. He said, "Look, you're in a position where you don't have kids, you don't have anything. Go get yourself bored and figure out what you want to do." 

    For a couple of months I was trying really hard to think about it and figure it out. Then I decided to not think about anything. Believe me, I know it's an incredible luxury to be able to do that.

    I didn't think about anything, and then everything became clear. It's an amazing feeling to have no responsibilities. Just "What am I going to do? Oh, I'm going to drive here and visit my friend." Or "I'm going to get on a plane, go to Europe, and hang out." It was amazing.

    I was at the beach with some friends before Labor Day weekend in 2004. I hadn't done anything for the whole summer. I wasn't even checking email. I panicked because I had hit maximum boredom. I got in this truck and I drove back to Manhattan on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. When everybody was going out to go the beach and have fun, I got on a plane, flew to LA to where my business partner was, and we wrote a business plan, and that became the business that was the Webby Awards and Recognition Media.

    I tell people it was the best thing I've ever done in my whole life.

    Shontell: You're on the beach, you realize "Oh my gosh, I actually miss work. I want to do more. I want to do something." You have this idea. Had you done anything with events before?

    Vogel: No, nothing. Zero things.

    Shontell: You just thought it would be a fun thing to start.

    Vogel: We actually started the company by buying a very small business. Before I dropped off the face of the earth, I talked to a lot of smart media people I knew. And a guy called us with an opportunity. He said, "You can buy this thing called the Telly Awards," which was a little award show based in Ashland, Kentucky.

    He found this business in an ad in the back of The Wall Street Journal. He read it, then he clipped it and faxed it to me. I took a look and said, "Wait a minute. This is a database of creative professionals who are all doing internet things and need recognition for their work." If you make TV commercials, who says whether you are doing a good job or not? You need third-party validation.

    We did some research, found out there were a million of these little awards around. If we bought this first one and figured it out, we could probably do a bunch more and make this work. That's what we did. I flew to LA to do the work on this Telly Awards thing that we then raised a little bit of money and bought a few months later.

    Building "The Oscars" of the Internet, The Webby Awards

    webby awards dennis crowley foursquareShontell: What exactly are the Webby Awards, and how did they become this glamorous thing?

    Vogel: We bought the Telly Awards and we'd had some success with it. Then, we found out the Webby Awards were owned by IDG, the big media company. They started this award show in the '90s in San Francisco that got some traction. But it kind of went out of business. For two years they didn't have the show. But they had the brand. We approached them and said, "Guys, we want to buy this from you."

    The business model is, people pay to enter, and we get lots of corporate sponsors and have a show. The first year we had 800 entries, mainly all from the United States. By the time we were done with it [seven years later] it was about 14,000 entries from 60 countries. It's the award, the Cannes Lions, or the Oscars for people who do internet stuff.

    We built a brand really, really stealthily. We did it by just making sure the brand was impeccable, that the most important, most influential people liked it. And we did it all online at a time when that felt really weird to people.

    Shontell: So it's a once-a-year event. How much money can you make from an event like that?

    Vogel: I can't really tell you exactly how much. You can figure out the math. The more people who enter, the better off this thing is. Then you're connecting really big corporate sponsors with very tight, very engaged audiences that are super valuable. We can put you in front of 2,000 people who make the best stuff in the world every year. That's a really valuable thing.

    Shontell: Was it ever hard?

    Vogel: Everything is hard. It's impossible. It tells as a super-elegant story. No, but this is impossible. Everything was a disaster. We had eight offices. We couldn't get anything right. We made so many mistakes. The nature of the internet is it's very forgiving. You can't really make that big a mistake.

    The interesting thing about a business that is an award show is it's once a year. Now, at, we can make changes that are instant tomorrow. At the Webby Awards, you make a change, it takes a year to see if that worked. You learn how to manage businesses differently because you have a full-year cycle, which is often very annoying. We made every mistake a startup can make.

    Shontell: Despite that, someone did come in and buy a big chunk of it.

    Vogel: Yeah, we were happy. I'm still on the board. Then I transitioned to Firstmark Capital, where I have a bunch of friends who are investors.

    Shontell: They've got early-stage investments and things like Pinterest, Airbnb, and Draft Kings.

    Vogel: I spent probably a year hanging out with those guys, and I learned so much in that year from just sitting and listening to their process. The first thing I learned is I'm a terrible investor. I like the quick wits of running businesses. But the long lead time and thoughtfulness required to have a thesis and invest against it and follow up is just not my jam.

    A radical plan to save — shut down the URL and start from scratch

    Neil Vogel CEO About.comShontell: So you started to get bored and then IAC called you. IAC owns

    Vogel: Yes. So was owned by The New York Times. They owned it for five or six years. IAC — Barry Diller and crew — bought it for about $300 million at the end of 2012.

    Shontell: Significantly less than The Times paid for

    Vogel: It is less than The Times paid, which is less than Prime Media paid before them. I think it's widely known, but About was a mess at that point. It was still one of the 20 biggest sites on the internet, but there had been a lot of neglect.

    IAC, who's very opportunistic in buying things, said, "OK, this still does a lot of revenue. It has 100 million users a month. We're pretty sure we can do something cool with it." So they bought it.

    Shontell: There was a bidding war for it too. wanted it.

    Vogel: There was a very quick bidding war that they won. I think the entire cycle was seven days, which is crazy when you think about how that works. Probably five or six months after they owned it. I wasn't there, so I can't say this definitively, but I can guess. I think it was a bit of a bigger mess than they thought.

    I got a phone call from Joey Levin, who is now the CEO of IAC. He might deny it went this way, but it very much went this way. He calls me — Joey's a very direct character — and he says, "What do you think of"

    My answer — in perfect arrogance was — "I don't. Who thinks of Nobody. It's a thing with these blue links on it. I don't think about"

    He says, "Come in and talk to me about it." I go in and talk to him about it. I thought he wanted me to help him find someone to run it. I went into his office, and the next thing I know, I'm going home with a stack of information.

    I'm thinking, "Ugh, I'll look through it, I guess."

    By the time I got through it, I had a full mental turnaround on what this thing could be. I was definitely like the 25th person they talked to.

    Shontell: It was founded in the search era, right? There was no social or Facebook driving a ton of traffic. It was all the good old days of Google search traffic.

    Vogel: It's all Google search. The model was — this is important to note because it took us a bit to figure out — the model was the same thing as AOL, or the same thing as MSN, or the same thing as Yahoo. It was a big general information site. In our case, we made the content ourselves with experts. They made content different ways. But it was a big general information site. I decided I would ... I'm like, "OK, you know what? I'm going to do this." I went and I signed up to do it, and a little bit of the reason was the "you can't fall off the floor" reason. I'm not going to be the guy who ruined It's already ruined, so this is all upside here.

    What Marissa Mayer and Yahoo did wrong

    marissa mayerShontell: What do you think of Marissa and Yahoo?

    Vogel: We can actually talk about that. We have point of view on that, which is part of how we decided to do what we did. We actually have a strong point of view on that. I'll make this story a little shorter here.

    I joined, and within a year we took the employees from 150 to 250. Every person, with the exception of one or two above senior director was new. We have 250 people now, and there are probably 10 who were there before we got there. When I got there, I couldn't tell you how many ads we served the day before. I couldn't tell you how many visits we. It was just a mess.

    We got there and spent the first year building a data-science team so we can understand what was going on. Building a sophisticated programmatic ad stack because our site kind of looks like crap. It's very hard for us to sell premium stuff. So we're going to start selling programmatic things like moving away from some other monetization things. We used a lot of Google ads and we have to not do that. Users don't really like that at scale. Hired a bunch of smart people. I basically went and drove the "A-Team" van around New York and was like, "I know you, you're great. We've worked together. Come join us!" I think people got excited about the chance to fix an iconic internet.

    A year and a half into it, we launch a brand-new site and rewrote every line of code. We had code from the '90s in there. We put forth the new and everyone was excited. We stopped the decline. We started to make more money, traffic stopped going down. We could go to a cocktail party with a straight face and say, "Look at this things." We had some pride in what we were doing and it was making some sense. We felt good, and then six months later we're still in the exact same spot and we're like, "Ugh, why is this not growing?" Again, at this time, everyone's really happy with us. IAC is happy with us.

    Probably a year after we launched, we went back to IAC, and this was the scary moment, this was like the big move, and said, "Guys, everything we did was wrong. We're doing it wrong."

    Shontell: How did you come to that? It just stalled?

    Vogel: It goes back to your Marissa question. We realized that our fundamental model of what we were doing was wrong. Our value is we have this great content that advertisers will like and consumers like, but nobody cares about a general-information site anymore. You have three constituencies when you're a publisher: advertisers, consumers, and people who send you traffic (basically algorithms). And it turns out that if you play tennis this weekend and hurt your knee, you don't want your "why my knee hurts" advice from About Health. You want it from WebMD or Everyday Health. We're like, "Oh, point." If your router breaks at home, you don't want that from About Tech; you want that from EnGadget or The Verge or someone how to fix it.

    Advertisers? We heard this constantly: "Your data is great, your scale is great, we like your content, but you're not endemic, so we're not working with you." They want head-of-household moms, and they make computers, but they would not give us any money. And then the other problem was algorithms. Google and Facebook and those guys no longer knew what to make of us. You can't have, "Symptoms of Colitis" content on the same domain that you have "How to Unclog My Drain." On the same domain you have, like, "How to Cook Beer-Battered Chicken" and "How to Fix My Tendinitis."

    Shontell: It kind of works for Wikipedia, though.

    Vogel: We'll talk about that in a second. It's a little bit different. For a site like us ... Wikipedia's traffic is going down, by the way, from search, because they're not specific. If you have colitis, you'd rather go to a colitis-specialty place than Wikipedia. They're losing also.

    We came to the realization that we needed to do something. We went back to IAC and to that meeting and said, "Here's what we're going to do: We're going to turn this place from AOL or Yahoo or MSN, and I'm going to turn this into Condé Nast or Vox. And that's what we're going to do. This is either going to work and be a great success or we're going to crash the plane as we're flying it and this is going to be a horrible failure. But we're betting, because our content is good, because we still have search traffic, because we know how to play social, that we're betting that we can do this."

    And IAC — because they're not a media company, they're an internet company; it's a huge difference that I've learned — they basically said "Do it. Do it. Go ahead, take the chance. Roll the dice and do it. We'd rather have the outcome that you are the next Condé Nast than have the outcome that is now, which is we're going sideways."

    'We could have literally gone to zero"

    Barry DillerShontell: That sounds like it makes a lot of sense. But there is huge risk involved with a move like that.

    Vogel: Existential risk. We could have literally gone to zero.

    Shontell: Yes, because you have, what, over 100 million people visiting

    Vogel: Yeah, about that.

    Shontell: And you're talking about all these new properties that have to start from scratch, right? Then what's left for

    Vogel: What we said was, we're going to take pieces of, we're going to break them off and make these new brands, and then when we're done, is going to go away. As of May 2, we're announcing a new brand name for all of overarching brand for our brands, and is going away.

    Shontell: This site that had 100 million-plus readers, you just canned.

    Vogel: We didn't can it yet, but we're canning it in six weeks. Again, because we've now made five different, sites that if you add them up have more users than had. That was the trick.

    Shontell: How long did that take?

    Vogel: We've done it over the last 12 months. The story of the first one is an easy one to tell.

    Shontell: Within a year you've built four new brands that now are bigger than ever was.

    Vogel: In aggregate, when you add up all the things, not ever was, because that was humongous, but we are — our traffic now, we have more traffic now with four of our five brands launched. So four brands in the market, one brand still under the name. We have more traffic now than we had a year ago, two years ago, when we were just

    Here's what we did: The first thing we wanted to launch is we wanted to launch ... We launched a health brand called Very Well. We dove right into the pool. Health is our most valuable, most-trafficked, biggest vertical, so we came up with an idea. Our content is very much in the style of like WebMD or Everyday Health. But we thought those sites, we just didn't think they have served a market need. We thought that we could make a beautiful, kinder, gentler health site. You go to these some of other sites with a headache, you think you have a brain tumor. You come to us with a headache, we're going to make your headache feel better and explain why you had a headache and make it better. That was the thesis.

    So we took our 100,000 pieces of health content of, threw 50,000 in the garbage because they were old. We didn't like them. The other 50 [thousand] were read by our writers. If it was medical information; it was read by a doctor. We had 30,000 pieces of content read by physicians, edited, cleaned up. Built a brand-new site from scratch, a new taxonomy for our content, put it on the site.

    We did that. We built this beautiful new site from scratch, everything from scratch. Took design, product, content, tech, everyone, walled them off. You now work for Very Well; you don't work for About anymore. You work for Very Well.

    Shontell: The About people who remained were no longer able to write about beauty and health or about —

    Vogel: Yeah, we moved the health stuff all to Very Well. Health is now gone from, and we launched it in April.

    Shontell: You see, instantly, a ton of traffic to, I'm sure, go away.

    Vogel: Terrifying. Really, you have to compare all of to now, plus Very Well, right? So here's what happens, a lot of, more, probably at the time, 70% of our traffic was from search. Three weeks after we did this —

    Shontell: No search traffic, I'm sure.

    Vogel: No, what you can do ... the trick is making the search traffic move to your new place. We built a new site with a new taxonomy so every URL over here gets redirected to one over here.

    A month after we launched this thing, our health traffic, which is our most valuable traffic, was down. Traffic was in like 45% or 50%. But we're like, "OK, we're just going to hold on and we're already halfway done doing our next vertical." All of a sudden, Facebook, Google, all the domains figure it out. As of now, today, I think our health brand has — I'm going to get this slightly wrong because I always get numbers slightly wrong — I think we had 8 million uniques when we started a month, I think we have 17 million uniques now to Very Well. So we've pretty much doubled in size in 12 months. We're by far the fastest-growing thing in the health space. I think we're No. 4 or 5 on comScore on health because our bet was right ...

    We knew that this would work. Then we launched something in the summer. Ran a very similar playbook on our personal-finance content called The Balance, which has pretty much doubled in traffic since we launched it this summer. We launched something called Life Wire in November, which is our evergreen-content tech site — how to fix my router, how to unbrick my iPhone. We launched three weeks ago, about a month ago something called The Spruce, which is the third-biggest home site on the internet, only behind HGTV and the Hearst Brands. We had such scale on About, that we're launching these new brands into the world that are new to the space with no legacy issues, look like start ups, but all of a sudden, like we're top 10 in comScore because we're coming with such scale. The market's like, "What? Where do you guys come from?"

    And we have one more site to launch, called Trip Savvy, which we're launching right after we change our name. We're now going to change the name of the company May 2.

    Shontell: So as a collection of sites, how much traffic do you guys have?

    Vogel: More than we started. I think — I don't know — last month ... internally, I think comSquare was like 60 million last month or something. So we got a lot of scale. We're around the same size as you guys. I think internally we're like 100 million.

    The future of media isn't about scale, it's about finding a niche

    Very WellShontell: So, for a while it was great to be a site that was all-encompassing, had all this scale, you know, the Yahoos, MSNs, and you. Are you're saying that that's no longer the case and that the future is to go niche?

    Vogel: It doesn't work. Yeah, it doesn't. I just think everybody wants expert —

    Shontell: The scale days are over?

    Vogel: You see it in the mall, right? There's no place for a department store. People don't want that anymore. People want things that are specialty. I think the other people in our position —

    Shontell: Except for Amazon.

    Vogel: Except for Amazon. But there's always a place for that. There's a place for Amazon and Target and Wal-Mart, cause they're competing on price, or service, or something. Not on expertise. And that's more of like a retail thing. But in content, you generally want content from someone you believe is an expert in that. That trends toward being an expert in like, a domain of content, which trends toward being vertical. And I think different people have made really interesting decisions about this.

    I think AOL has made a brilliant decision. We looked at our content and said, "All right, we make really premium content in these very premium areas." AOL looked at their type of content and said, "You know what, this is content that is probably going to be best served by programmatic ad selling." Cause of the type of content it was, not that it's good or bad, it just is. They built an unbelievable ad stack, they assembled properties that work like this. And it totally worked, and they crushed it. And now they're like Target. Like it totally works for them, and now that's why Yahoo makes sense. I think MSN didn't want to deal. And Yahoo made a different decision.

    Like we looked at what we were doing and said, "We make money one way. We sell ads against content. And we're doing it wrong, but that's the fundamental model that works for us." Yahoo wanted to become something completely different, that I don't think anyone totally understands exactly what the thesis was. And I think that's why it didn't work. I think the AOL-Yahoo combo is gonna be great. It's gonna be great for advertisers. If it works it's gonna be like a legitimate third option to the big two. And I think they took the right approach to content.

    Shontell: The big two being Facebook and Google. The Duopoly.

    Vogel: The Duopoly. No media buyer in the world wants there to be only two places to buy stuff from. Look, it's really dangerous and they're growing like crazy but ... If you make valuable content, and you give people a really great experience, there is a place for you in the world. When you're general, like when you're the old, there might not have been a place for us in that world. Because it just doesn't work. But when you're Very Well or The Balance, and when you're like a mutual-fund company that needs to advertise against people who are specifically looking for mutual fund information, we're an unbelievable resource for them. That's better than like guessing someone wants mutual funds on Facebook.

    Shontell: So one thing you mentioned is that with AOL and Yahoo merging under Verizon, you think it'll be great. And could maybe challenge these guys. And that's a mega-merger.

    Vogel: That's a big one.

    Shontell: You know, all these huge companies coming together under Verizon. Do you think that's going to keep happening, and is that is your goal with About, to build it up to a point where you could join and be a power player in a big mega-merger like this?

    Vogel: I don't know. I think if you look at the history of IAC they, you know, the market we have is $5 billion or $6 billion, but the value of the companies that have come out of IAC are, what, like $50 billion or $60 billion. So there is a history at IAC of being the builder, not the buildee. And if we do this right, we have a really interesting opportunity to build something great.

    Shontell: So one kind of different question for you, what's Barry Diller like?

    Vogel: First of all, he's great. He does not suffer fools. There's something incredible frustrating that happens when you deal with him in that you'll be in a meeting with him, or you'll get some feedback from him via email, or secondhand, or you'll talk to him directly. And he will say something to you that, at the time, you will be like, "I don't what?" Because you're like an arrogant CEO and you're like, "I ... I ... I know better about my business than he does. What's he talking about?" And then a day later, you're like in the shower, and you realize, like, "Ugh, he was totally right. He was a thousand percent right."

    There's nothing he hasn't seen or been through, and he has this really unique way, which I think you do, when you sit in his perspective, of just looking at our problems or issues and just ignoring the nonsense, and like, bam. Like right to it. And sometimes by getting right to it you don't understand that right away, because you're too in the weeds, or you're busy running the business. But he just like, nails it. And he's great to work for. He does not suffer fools, there's not a lot of, like, nonsense. But it's awesome to work for someone that, and this doesn't happen a lot.

    Shontell: Very true. So to wrap this all up, if you had to say the one thing you've had a lot of different lives in your careers. In all of them you've found success. So what do you think is the one common thread that has made you successful in all of these different areas and, ultimately, in your career?

    Vogel: I'm annoyingly relentless when I believe in something. When I was a banker, I figured out that you'll be much better at doing something if you're passionate about it. And it's not saying like, "My great passion in life is to build publishing companies," or "My great passion in life is to build award shows." But if you believe in what you're doing and you can get excited about it, you're gonna be a thousand times better. And I'm really direct and I'm really honest with people, which doesn't always work that well. But if people always know where they stand with you, you will always know where you stand with them. And I think that's really valuable.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: People are outraged by this shocking video showing a passenger forcibly dragged off a United Airlines plane

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    ramit sethi

    I stared at the massive stack of paperwork in front of me and cringed.

    It wasn’t just any paperwork. It was the worst kind of administrative stuff that requires 5 different documents from 5 different folders (btw, I didn’t know where any of this information was).

    I was dragging my feet on it for (let’s just say)…months. I kept ignoring the increasingly urgent emails I was getting from my operations team to complete it.

    Finally, I booked 2 hours in my calendar to tackle it…and immediately spent the full 2 hours browsing Reddit (though I did find my favorite new subreddit, check out

    Later, I was on a call with a co-worker and mentioned this offhandedly and what she said next blew my mind:

    “Do you want me to help? I’m really good at this and I actually love doing it.”

    What? She ENJOYED this kind of paperwork? My first thought: “Was this person emotionally stable?”

    Second thought: “This might be the best hire I’ve made in 12 years.”

    It felt unfathomable to me that there were people who enjoyed filling out paperwork. The very same work I hate doing. And it was a complete revelation that I could find people who would actually enjoy doing this kind of work, leaving me to do the work I enjoy.

    Right now, take a look around you: What are all the things you’ve been putting off for weeks, maybe even months? Every day you tell yourself, “I’ll do that later” — which is the universal code for “never”:

    • Building that Ikea nightstand
    • Hanging up a painting
    • Shopping for new clothes
    • Cleaning your apartment
    • Proofreading a blog post
    • Finding a new babysitter
    • Prepping meals for the week

    We all fantasize about some nice long weekend where we’re going to wake up early, write down all our little “to-do’s” on a yellow legal pad, and spend the next three days cheerfully crossing stuff off the list.

    It’s never gonna happen.

    Maybe we check off the easiest one or two items… then spend the rest of the day Netflix and chilling.

    And that’s totally okay!

    I love relaxing on the weekend. I work hard during the week, so sometimes I just want to catch up on my reality TV and recuperate, and not have to worry about paperwork or cooking or cleaning my bathroom.

    So if I’m going to do that, then I want to enjoy it, guilt-free.

    What else have you been putting off?

    It’s not just the little things we’ve been putting off, shunting off from today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s… for weeks at a time. We asked on Twitter, and here’s what we heard back:

    Screen Shot 2017 04 25 at 5.44.30 PM

    Let’s take a closer look at the last one. Freelancing has a special place in my heart…

    Because in addition to hundreds of free articles on freelancing, we’ve already created the best course in the world on how to build your freelancing business!

    And if you don’t want help from us, cool. You can search #freelance on Google and Twitter, filter through the hundreds of people who are doing it, and reach out to them.

    Screen Shot 2017 04 25 at 5.45.40 PM

    Even the mere act of asking for help — you don’t even need to take their advice! — will open your eyes.

    But it’s up to you to ASK. No one’s going to do it for you.

    Why we don’t ask for help

    “But Ramit, I’m not like you, I can’t just send out a Tweet and get 100s of people offering to help!”

    I’ll be honest: Whenever I hear this, I roll my eyes. You don’t need a successful business or a bunch of followers to ask for help.

    “But Ramit, I live in Podunktown, Ohio and I’m a Pisces, and no one’s ever faced my unique problem.”

    Yes, my Special Snowflake… someone else out there has faced the same problem you have. And they’ve found a way to solve it. In 10-plus years and hundreds of thousands of emails from people baring their soul in my inbox, I’ve seen it all — and there’s only one reason why we don’t ask for help: Fear.

    Sure, it seems like they come in different flavors, but they all taste the same. Here are some examples:

    “I’m terrified of people knowing that I need help with this stuff. I think I should have figured this out on my own by now, and the fact that it’s so tedious makes me feel a bit pathetic”

    I’m afraid to fail because if I do, then people will know how dumb I am. And if I am dumb, then I’m probably not a valuable person.”

    “I’m afraid if I ask for help, I’ll be imposing on another person. I don’t want them to think I’m rude.”

    “I’m worried I’ll ramble and make a terrible impression.”

    “If I ask for help, I’m admitting that I’m not as smart as I think I am.”

    Who would I even ask? I don’t know where to turn for help.”

    We all have these fears… which is why I want to suggest a way to reframe it, once and for all.

    Instead of thinking, “I’ll look dumb if I ask for help…”

    Reframe this as: “The smartest thing I can do is ask for help.”

    No one succeeds without asking for help.

    How to get help

    Trying to just “work harder” and “figure it out” is a losing battle. We know we should get help, solve the problem, then move on with our lives.


    Great — so how do we get help? “Just ask! Post it on Facebook! Get on Twitter.”

    Any of these can work. But let’s be brutally honest: How many times have we heard, “just post it on Twitter,” nodded our heads… then went right back to scrolling through our Instagram feed?

    That’s because these are tactics, and tactics only solve the surface level problems. If you want to solve the real problem, we have to dig deeper and get at the root. At the root, the reason we don’t ask for help is fear.

    Most of us are afraid of 2 things:

    #1. We’re afraid of asking a dumb question and looking foolish


    (What? Did you expect me to say, “there’s no such thing as a dumb question?” Wrong.) Questions like, “Ramit, what should I do with my money?” are dumb, because I’ve written hundreds of free articles about this already. Don’t ask a question that you can Google and can find the answer to in seconds.

    The best people do their homework and spend the time crafting amazing questions, knowing that’s the only way you’re going to get busy, smart people to actually help you. Here’s a response that my top students often share with newbies, about how to ask good questions:

    “Vague questions will get you vague answers. Good questions will get you great answers. The key is doing the hard work yourself before you ask others. I highly recommend you structure your questions like this:

    – “Hi, I’m wondering how to (QUESTION).

    – Here’s a quick background (SHORT 1-2 sentence relevant context. Include the information you’ve already reviewed).

    – I’ve narrowed my next step down to:




    I think I should tackle B because (REASON). Does anyone have experience doing this, and if so, what would you recommend?”

    #2. We’re afraid people will ignore us

    Let me just save you the suspense: You’re going to get ignored. A lot.

    Now, here’s the good news: It probably has nothing to do with you! If you’re reaching out to important, smart people (which you should) they are, by definition, busy. Maybe they didn’t see your email. Maybe they saved it… but then had to run out to their kid’s soccer game and forgot. Or maybe they read it and decided to ignore it.

    It happens. The reality is most people won’t respond.

    The best people already know this, and react accordingly. For example, if they reach out to 5 people, they expect 4 people won’t respond. So if they’re looking for advice from 3 different people, they know they have to reach out to AT LEAST 15 people.

    They understand the game happening around them… and play accordingly.

    Isn’t it interesting that when most people try to improve themselves, they look for that quick, crunchy nugget? Maybe they download a new app to track their time, or find a different hack to reach “inbox zero.” Even if they do an amazing job, the best they can hope for is a 4% or 5% improvement.

    But when you think outside of just the tactics, and start getting help from others, you don’t have to settle for these small, incremental improvements. The right amount of help, from the right person at the right time, can double (or more) your efficiency, revenue, or impact on the world.

    For example, when I asked a mentor for help, he helped me:

    • Make over $100,000 in one month
    • Double my business in one year
    • Have some amazing experiences in my personal life, in just a few months

    If you’re curious, we talk more about that here:


    Jay’s advice has made a HUGE difference in my life.

    SEE ALSO: After 13 years of running my company, I've changed my mind in 5 key ways

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 6 things the Samsung Galaxy S8 can do that the iPhone can’t

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    theSkimm Carly Zakin Danielle Weisberg

    Before founding theSkimm in the summer of 2012, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg worked together at NBC.

    As the roommates considered starting their company, which today provides short news updates to 5 million subscribers at 6 a.m. every morning, they enrolled in a Skillshare class about finding a business partner taught by investor and entrepreneur Alex Taub.

    Speaking with Business Insider US editor in chief Alyson Shontell on an episode of Business Insider's podcast "Success! How I Did It," Zakin and Weisberg said that Taub became a mentor and was one of the first to give them career — and life — changing advice:

    "If you're going to start something, you need to be all in. How can you ask anyone to even think about giving you money if you have not made sacrifices to prioritize the effort yourself?'"

    And they did it. But although quitting their jobs to start a company might seem like a romantic origin story, they told Shontell, people have it wrong — or at least, they're missing some critical elements. Weisberg continued:

    "Quitting our jobs, it was the scariest day of our life. That was not easy. And those first months ... every point of this company has been hard. That's the case anytime you're building something. But those first months, we only got through it because we didn't have a backup plan. We didn't have a safety net financially or emotionally. This was everything."

    That was our saving grace, because there was no plan B. There was only, 'We're on our couch, we can't afford cable, we've maxed out our credit cards, our parents are giving us hugs.' But that was the support. Carly's parents made us a lot of dinner. That was it. There was nowhere else to go."

    In fact, Zakin said, they never had the money to quit in the first place. "'Bootstrap' is such a generous term because it makes it seem like we had money to bootstrap," she said. "We worked in media in mid-level jobs. We had just over $4,000 between the two of us. We lived in a rent-stabilized apartment downtown and agreed to go into credit card debt together." (They paid it off just recently.)

    Plus, investors had no interest. Weisberg explained:

    "So when everyone was saying no, and we made a list of all of the people — all of the investors, angels, seed funds — and we would turn anyone who said 'no' red. And then the whole list, which was a lot of names, was completely red. I remember a day in our kitchen, we had just gotten off a pitch that again ended with 'Thanks so much, not interested,' and we just had to make a decision. Are we going to go for this or are we going to go try to get jobs freelancing for the 2012 election?

    "It wasn't really even a decision — it was just a half-second to reevaluate where we were, change our pitch a bit, and that was it. That was the closest we've ever come to a crisis of confidence in this company. If you let those things get to you early on, then you don't know what else is coming. There are going to be a lot more challenges."

    Now, having raised more than $15 million of funding and with theSkimm well-established as successful startup, Zakin said she struggles with how to advise people who come to them asking for advice on starting a business, but who say they can't afford to quit their day jobs.

    "I still have mixed feelings about what to tell them," she said. "Who am I to tell someone what financial decisions they should make? But for us, we were asking people to believe in us, and we had to show that we believed in us so much that we were willing to take a huge risk ourselves, quit our jobs, have no financial security, and give it a shot."

    Listen to the full podcast interview:


    SEE ALSO: How 2 roommates got shot down by hundreds of startup investors and racked up credit-card debt — but built a newsletter empire anyway

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 2 biggest job interview mistakes young people make

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    noah kagan

    Being an entrepreneur sounds great — except when it isn’t. I speak from experience.

    While sharing top marketing tips on OkDork, I founded AppSumo and Sumo, which is now an 8-figure business. (Before that, I saw what it’s like to build a business as employee #30 at Facebook and employee #4 at

    For all the freedom to choose your own schedule, there are 90+ hour workweeks.

    For every day working from the beach, there are months spent grinding away in a small apartment.

    For every product or service you dream of creating exactly how you want, there are bad reviews, customer complaints, and months with low sales.

    I’ve learned a lot from my jobs, businesses I built, and fellow entrepreneurs I help. One thing I learned from teaching entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.

    The truth is, while entrepreneurship can be glamorous, it’s not always the case. And there’s no shame in being a full-time employee for someone else. In fact, it might be better suited for you.

    To help you figure out if you’re better-suited for entrepreneurship or being an employee, I developed a framework you can use to understand your next step.

    Find your purpose (and do work that aligns with it)

    Before I joined Facebook,, or started my own company, I was a cubicle monkey at Intel.

    Frankly, I couldn’t stand working there. It was mind-numbing, I was bored every day, and I wasn’t doing anything purposeful.

    But there’s one thing Intel did help me do: Start to find my purpose. I wanted to leave Intel as quickly as I possibly could, so I went out and tried everything.

    One of the biggest misconceptions about purpose is if we sit around and wait, it’ll magically fall from the sky. In my experience, this isn’t true.

    Purpose is messy. As I sought my purpose, I tried hundreds of different activities:

    • Promoting amazing products
    • Helping the underdog
    • Selling products at reasonable prices

    After lots of trial-and-error, I learned I loved testing out new product ideas.

    My new obsession with building product ideas helped me start defining my purpose and re-focus my career. I quit Intel and joined Facebook as employee #30, where I was responsible for building new product ideas as a Product Manager for the company.

    After I was fired from Facebook, I focused on doing more work aligned with my purpose of helping market new products. I became the marketing director of and helped grow the company from zero users to 100,000 users in 6 months.

    There are likely hundreds — or thousands — of companies you could use your purpose to help grow. Even better, you don’t have to go through the ups-and-downs of entrepreneurship to bring your purpose to the world.

    • If you want to work for a startup, have you searched on Small Cos.?
    • If you are crazy about new product ideas, have your browsed ProductHunt?
    • If you want is to work remotely and travel the world, have you checked RemoteOk?

    And if you don’t know what your purpose is, get out and start trying things.

    Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t the only path. Working on a project or with a company aligned with your purpose is possible.

    Believe in the product you’re building

    There are countless teams working on products they love:

    • Product and software designers at Apple making amazing devices — including the iPhone or Macbook you’re reading this from
    • Salesmen and saleswomen bringing more incredible, inexpensive products to Amazon (so you can order everything you need from Amazon without going to the store)
    • Elon Musk and the team at SpaceX designing rockets to send humans to Mars

    The truth is, being founder and CEO brings a lot of boring administrative work — like meetings, hiring, and coordinating between teams.

    If you’re someone who enjoys getting your hands dirty on products you love, it might be more fulfilling working for a company where you deal with less administrative tasks.

    Ask yourself:

    • What are some products you’re using every day?
    • What are new ideas you like that you can help building?
    • What are something you enjoy using and love to improve?

    Instead of creating your own product, think about contributing your expertise to an existing business with the product you love.

    Not sure where to start? Go check out Kickstarter and reach out to people behind the products you love.

    Work with people smarter than you

    The “solopreneur” dream is much less fun than what the media portrays. In reality, you’re locked away in a studio apartment, eating ramen noodles and trying to execute an idea all by yourself.

    The truth is, we ALL need a support network. Here’s the team behind the Sumo Group.

    Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

    Who’s in your inner circle?

    When we surround ourselves with brilliant people, we reach heights we couldn’t get to on our own. For example…

    • The “PayPal Mafia” was a group of early PayPal employees who pushed each other every day. Four group members — Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, and Ken Howery — and now billionaires
    • Before Malcolm Gladwell wrote his first book, he was a journalist for the Washington Post, covering topics about business and sciences. In his own words, his 10 years at the Post contribute to his success as a writer now
    • Some early employees at Facebook used their experience to create startups. Steve Chen cofounded YouTube. Adam D’Angelo founded Quora. Here’s what else the first 20 Facebook employees are doing now

    When I was with Facebook as employee #30, I felt like the dumbest person on the team. But it was also the time where I grew the most.

    Without the support, motivation, and learnings from our all-star team of early employees at Facebook, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to where I am today.

    You NEED to make money to survive

    It’s sensitive to talk about money, but you NEED to get paid!

    Here’s something most people don’t know: the first 3 years I built AppSumo, I paid myself only $40,000 per year.

    It sucked. And it definitely flies in the face of what many people thought I was making, and what’s often portrayed in the media for running your own business.

    I’m not the only one. Here are some other famous entrepreneurs and what they went through in their first few years in business:

    • When Elon Musk started his first startup, Zip2, he borrowed $28,000 from his father and slept in the office for the first three months.
    • When Jeff Bezos launched Amazon selling books, he packed hundreds of books by hand.
    • Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post, had her first book rejected 36 times — and first launched HuffPo to mixed reviews.

    And these are just the successful entrepreneurs. What if you’re scraping by, trying to make it big… but your startup fails? Instead, if you’re more risk-averse (like me) it can be smart to join a company, get a stable income, learn everything you can — and create your business idea on the side.

    Problems (who said it would be easy?)

    Bill Gates started his software company and became the richest man on the planet.

    Mark Zuckerberg built a website with users' photos and became the largest social media site ever.

    Elon Musk has his eyes set on Mars with SpaceX.

    On the surface, it sounds great. But here’s what else entrepreneurs have to deal with:

    • Taxes
    • People quitting
    • Technical issues
    • Non-stop emails, phone calls, and messages
    • 20 hours worth of meetings every week

    I get it. It's attractive to start a business from the outside. But being an entrepreneur only sounds great, until you get the problems.

    An entrepreneur is constantly dealing with the less sexy issues like taxes, recruiting, solving team fights, and more.

    If you’re falling into the limbo of deciding which path you should take, this framework will guide you to the right direction.

    Remember: you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to find work which gives you purpose, helps you create a great product, surrounds you with amazing people, and pays you well.

    SEE ALSO: How an early Facebook employee created a business that brought in 7 figures — and grew it to 8

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This man spent 6 weeks working undercover in an iPhone factory in China — here's what it was like

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    jk rowling

    There has been a huge shift in how the richest people in Britain get their money.

    When the Sunday Times Rich List, which ranks the 1,000 richest people in Britain, first began in 1989, it was dominated by aristocratic or inherited wealth. Basically fortunes that were just passed down to each generation.

    However, a study of the The Sunday Times Rich List data, which will be released in May, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research said "wealth is often gained and lost within three generations." This means that getting into the list and then exiting it is a "revolving door."

    "The Sunday Times Rich List data challenges the idea that wealth sits in the same families’ pockets for generation after generation. The very rich are a changing cast of people," said Professor Douglas McWilliams, who conducted the research, to The Sunday Times. McWilliams is set to feature his findings in a forthcoming book called "The Inequality Paradox."

    "The reality is that there is a lot of truth in the old Lancashire term 'from clogs to clogs in three generations'."

    For example, Bet365 founder Denise Coates racked up an enormous fortune from a gambling empire she created. In the 2016 Sunday Times Rich List, she was the 24th richest person in Britain and 4th richest woman in UK with a net worth of £3.765 billion.

    In 2001, Harry Potter author JK Rowling entered the list with a net worth of £65 million but The Sunday Times said this year's list will show that her fortune has grown by 10 times to reach £650 million.

    Moneysupermarket’s cofounder Simon Nixon made a fortune from is price comparison website and was 113th richest person in Britain in last year's list. All three will be back in the 2017 list, said the Sunday Times.

    Meanwhile, there are a number of rich people in Britain that see their fortunes grow and massively fall. Gordon Crawford, the IT tycoon who created London Bridge Software, entered the Sunday Times Rich List in 2000, reaching the 12th spot with £1.3 billion. However, this year he is going to be ranked 896th with a fortune of £122 milion.

    You can read The Sunday Times' full preview of the Rich List here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    I’m sitting in a sauna in the Philippines, muscles loose from a massage, but I can’t relax. There’s a 20-something woman seated to my left, and I’m finding it hard to sit in such a small space with a fellow traveler in silence. I’m torn between feeling like I should say something and not wanting to interrupt her peace.

    It only takes a couple of minutes before I crack. I’m too curious. I want to know where she’s from and what brought her to this sauna in Makati, the cultural hub of metro Manila, Philippines — other than spa services that cost a fraction of what they would in many other major cities.

    I soon find out that she’s Mollie Bylett, the person behind the website Where's Mollie?, and she has what is possibly the most envied and romanticized job in the world: travel blogger (#livingthedream).

    As we chat, a spa attendant brings Bylett an ice water and me a pot of black tea, and I sit on my hot wooden bench, trying to balance my curiosity with my desire not to be rude. I’ve never met a travel blogger before, but like anyone who has experienced wanderlust, I’ve had a fantasy or two about being paid to journey around the world. My questions are scrolling through my head like post-game scores on ESPN. How do you make money from this? What does your work actually entail? Is it really as glamorous as it seems?

    The answer to that last question probably seems like a resounding “duh” — I’m talking to her in a spa, after all. Yet like most things, the answer is not as straightforward as one might think. This sauna trip isn’t part of Bylett’s daily schedule. In fact, she’s been on the go for four-plus months, and it’s a much-needed break from the energy — and yes, work — that goes into her job. This is a woman who actually skipped a flight to Palawan (aka the world’s best island, according to Travel + Leisure) earlier in the day because she was itching to head home to the London area instead.

    Bylett is used to people wondering what she “actually” does, not to mention the misconception that she just jets around the world taking one beautiful photo after another for her website, Where’s Mollie?, and social media — probably in between Mai Tais. What people don’t realize, though, is how much work it took to get her to the point where she could make travel blogging her full-time job. The three-and-a-half-year process was “hard work, and at times soul destroying,” she tells Bustle in an email after getting home. Until six months ago, she labored over her blog while running an eyelash extension business that she had set up.

    “I never really had a day off, and whilst I didn’t mind because I was passionate about everything I was doing, I would burn out a lot and not have the bank balance to show for it,” she says. “But the strength in that frustration has definitely led me to where I am now.”

    That strength has been paying off. Bylett has been to 36 countries so far, amassed nearly 50,000 Instagram followers at the time of this writing, and attracted sponsors like GoPro. Still, travel blogging continues to take real work. Her days might not be spent in an office, but her hours are busy. Separating work and personal time is an ongoing struggle.

    What makes finding that balance especially tough in Bylett’s case is that she loves everything she does. That might not sound like a problem, but it definitely can be.

     “It’s challenging to enforce that discipline, but I’ve learned the hard way a couple of times by getting pretty ill,” she says.

    Bylett recognizes how privileged she is to be doing what she does, though. She says the best parts of her job are the people she gets to meet and the countries she has the chance to explore. Plus, she would be documenting her trips no matter what.

    “I travel and create content because it’s a personal passion,” she says. “I think I would need to vacation to a cardboard box to not get my camera out!”

    Wherever the destination, Bylett makes a conscious effort to be open about the realities of her job, like the fact that she got lonely at times during her recent 18-week solo trip, or that sometimes she gets sick on the road.

    “I’m honest about everything,” she says. “I don’t cover up the bad times, and I use things like my Instagram stories as a way to share the behind-the-scenes details to avoid jealousy and keep it real!”

    ADVENTURE OVER EVERYTHING 🌴🌴🌴 What's YOUR dream adventure? Visit ...for tips, guides and inspiration for your next adventure!

    A post shared by ✧ Mollie ✧ (@molliebylett) on Jan 31, 2017 at 1:53am PST on

    Bylett even wrote an entire post on her blog in 2016 about the “downsides to a life filled with travel.” Fabulous as it sounds in theory, all that adventure takes a toll, whether it be detracting from personal relationships or making it harder to find satisfaction in the normal grind. Plus, when travel is your job, it changes your definition of a getaway.

    “A vacation for me is actually time at home, the opposite to what one would think!” Bylett says.

    Even with its downsides, travel blogging is still clearly the dream for her. But don’t let the stunning photos fool you: Living the dream is work, too.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A couple is making a living traveling the world—and they've been to 50 countries in seven years

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    Gary Vaynerchuk

    In his 20s Gary Vaynerchuk worked his "face off."

    The CEO of media empire VaynerMedia sat down with Alyson Shontell, the editor in chief of Business Insider US, for an episode of Business Insider's podcast "Success! How I Did It."

    By his mid-30s, Vaynerchuk had taken his family's New Jersey wine business from about $3 million annual revenue to $60 million.

    He'd written a best-seller, "Crush It," and established VaynerMedia, which he expects to generate more than $125 million in revenue this year.

    So Shontell asked him, "What did you do in your 20s to set you up for success to really strike in your 30s?"

    "I worked my face off and learned my craft," Vaynerchuk replied. He added:

    "I'll give you a good example. There are not a lot of 20-year-olds who can say they worked every single Saturday of their entire 20s. Period. I did. I worked 50 to 52 Saturdays a year, from 22 to 29, until I met my wife and started having to build some level of work-life balance. That's hard work."

    As for what exactly he was doing on those Saturdays: "I got to Wine Library at 7:30 in the morning and I left at 7, 8, or 9. I just worked," he said. "I just built a management staff, I tasted wine, I built up the website. Learned how to do Google AdWords. I just worked."

    He told Shontell that when critics "try to take a razz at me as a self-promoter" he points to all the years he spent working behind the scenes, before being a YouTube personality and amassing millions of social-media followers.

    "If they even spend four seconds digging, they'll realize I didn't say a word until I was in my mid-30s and had already built an enormously large business."

    Listen to the full podcast interview:

    SEE ALSO: How a 'brash Jersey boy' grew 2 businesses to tens of millions in revenue and became a social media super star

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Salt Lake City

    Entrepreneurship is a fixture of the 21st century iteration of the American Dream. Today, about 10% of the US labor force works for themselves, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, it's no easy task to get a business off the ground. In many cases, the state of a local economy can greatly affect your chance of success.

    In it's latest report, WalletHub determined the best places for launching a business based on three categories:

    • Business environment (50-point weight): five-year business survival rate, length of the average work week, startups per capita, average growth of business revenues, and average growth in the number of small businesses, industry variety, and entrepreneurship index.
    • Access to resources (25-point weight): venture investment per capita, financing accessibility, share of college-educated population, prevalence of investors, high-education assets, human capital availability, and working-age population growth.
    • Business costs (25-point weight): office-space affordability, labor costs, corporate taxes, and cost of living.

    A total of 18 metrics were gathered for each of the 150 most populated US cities. WalletHub then calculated the total score — the highest of which was a 56.85 — for each city based on its weighted average across all metrics to determine the final ranking (read the full methodology here).

    Cities in the Midwest and the South proved to be the best places to start a business in 2017. Below, check out the top-16 cities, along with their total score and individual rankings for business environment, access to resources, and business costs.

    SEE ALSO: More tech companies have stopped keeping employee salaries secret — and they're seeing results

    DON'T MISS: The 15 best US states to start a business

    16. Lincoln, Nebraska

    Total score: 51.95

    Business environment: 82

    Access to resources: 7

    Business costs: 58

    15. Laredo, Texas

    Total score: 52.11

    Business environment: 45

    Access to resources: 12

    Business costs: 74

    14. Port St. Lucie, Florida

    Total score: 52.21

    Business environment: 54

    Access to resources: 26

    Business costs: 34

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    susie moore 1

    If you ask Susie Moore, everyone should have a side hustle.

    In a Facebook Live interview, the author of "What If It Does Work Out?" told Business Insider that a side hustle — a business you build and pursue outside of your day job — is the perfect way to dip your toe into entrepreneurship.

    But do you get started, we asked her, if you don't have an idea?

    "This is where a lot of people kind of trip themselves up thinking they need the perfect idea, or that they need to wait to have that real spark of inspiration that will give them this kind of golden, million-dollar idea," Moore answered. "But really, when it comes to finding an idea, it's just paying attention to who you are, what you love to do, what you're good at."

    In 2013, Moore left a sales job where she was earning $500,000 a year at age 30 in order to start her own business as a life coach, after building up her company on the side, to the point where she was earning up to $4,000 a month. Now, she encourages others to pursue entrepreneurship through Side Hustle Academy.

    "Clarity doesn't come from thinking," she told Business Insider. "This is the biggest mistake people make. They overthink, overthink, overthink, and they never get started. Clarity comes through action. If you start your side hustle and you don't like it? No harm, right? You tried it, it didn't work for you, that's OK. That probably won't happen, though — if you're thinking about it, if you have that entrepreneurial hunger, than maybe you'll just take a detour, or your business will change and evolve over time."

    Getting started, she said, is the best thing you can do. 

    "Ideas are overrated," she said. "Execution is truly everything. The most important thing is just have some confidence in yourself, look and understand what it is that you're good at, and how you can provide value with that thing."

    Watch the full Facebook Live interview:

    SEE ALSO: Why leaving a $500,000 job at 30 years old was the best career choice I've ever made

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    Do you dream of being an entrepreneur?

    Here, Kellogg faculty provide insights into what it takes to get a company off the ground without losing your equity—or your sanity—in the process.

    1. Constraints are good for business

    Startups are small, their resources generally limited. But this is not always a bad thing. Young companies can use constraints to their advantage, says David Schonthal, a clinical professor of entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School and an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry.

    One huge opportunity area? Hearing from your potential customers directly.

    Large companies often use focus groups or research-and-development teams to get feedback about their products. The result is usually a composite picture of a customer. With limited resources, however, small companies have to get into the field themselves and meet the real people who might purchase the product. This provides very authentic feedback about who your customers are and whether your product resonates with them.

    2. Be wary of angel investors

    New companies should be cautious about where they get their cash, says Scott Baker, an assistant professor of finance at the Kellogg School.

    Baker explains that getting too much money from angel investors may not be to a startup’s long-term benefit. For one, it can create a complicated investment structure that could dissuade venture-capital firms from investing later. “It’s hard to go to a board meeting and discuss voting rights if there are 20–25 different investors, each with a small stake,” says Baker.

    For startups that do turn to angel investors, Baker cautions against reflexively accepting the maximum amount. With less money on hand, startups can stay lean and focused—and less likely to fund unprofitable initiatives.

    3. Fine-tune the user experience

    So your new tech startup or social platform has attracted some buzz. Will it last?

    The burst of interest and traffic a startup experiences at launch usually falls off—unless the company can fine-tune the user experience, says Sean Johnson, an adjunct lecturer of marketing at the Kellogg School.

    Johnson, who is also a partner at Founder Equity and the digital startup incubator Digital Intent, highlights the importance of quickly convincing new users that a product can be useful for them—what Johnson calls the “lightbulb moment.”

    While a lot of attention is often given to how users will experience a site once it is already populated with data or contacts, it is less common, but just as important, to envision it from the perspective of someone brand new, faced with an intimidatingly blank screen.

    If you are going to launch a business with a partner, Nicole Staple, a 2012 graduate of the Kellogg School, and Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School, have a few pointers.

    Staple and fellow Kellogg classmate Sonali Lamba cofounded Brideside, a Chicago-based startup where bridal parties can order dresses online, while still benefiting from high-touch, personalized services such as style consulting.

    From the start, Staple and Lamba had complimentary skills—and just as important, compatible personalities. “We played off each other really well in public presentations, we had a great creative process, we could spend late nights together and not get sick of each other,” says Staple.

    This is critical. “A startup is extremely stressful,” says Jones. “It’s not a good day every day, and having founder frictions can be really devastating. They might not only damage your ability to go forward together, but can also set the tone and the culture of the company.”

    5. Even established companies have a role for entrepreneurs

    So the startup life is losing its appeal? Many innovative business leaders choose to work in established companies. This does not mean that their entrepreneurial dreams have to wither.

    While working at Discovery Communications, Gabe Vehovsky, an adjunct lecturer of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School and founder and CEO of, discovered a glaring opportunity for anyone willing to invest in a platform to attract new customers to online educational content.

    After failing to find an external partner that would take on the project, Vehovsky developed it internally. In the process, he learned quite a bit about the advantages of intrapreneurship—for one, most big organizations have no shortage of deep expertise on hand—as well as what companies can do to support employees with the “gene” for innovation.

    SEE ALSO: 4 personality types that make successful entrepreneurs

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    Why should you start a company as an underclassman? In short, because you don’t quite have to get it right.

    The summer after my freshman year at Duke, I cofounded Carpe Lotion with my friend David Spratte. We developed an antiperspirant lotion, a solution to sweaty hands and feet, and have been selling it with growing success since the summer of 2015.

    The better Carpe does, the more people ask me for advice about their own companies — and unfortunately, in most cases, the honest reply to their questions is “I have no idea. I think our business is somehow kind of working right now? I’m trying to figure out why that is.”

    The reality is, growing a company is a messy and confusing affair, full of squishy math and gut calls, even when you try to approach everything as empirically as I do. It’s only after you’ve done something and seen the consequences play out over months or years that you can even begin to speak to whether or not that was a good decision.

    And for the first time, I think I’m ready to say that a decision I made was a good one: The decision to start Carpe Lotion, to start a company as a college underclassman and stay in school, instead of dropping out or waiting until after graduation.

    It’s taken three years of perspective and stories to get to the point where I’m confident enough to put that conclusion in writing, but I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what I’m doing, what others are doing, and most devilish of all, what I could be doing. I truly believe that I’m doing (more or less) the best possible thing I can right now for my growth as an entrepreneur and as a person.

    So here’s my argument: If you’re interested in a career in entrepreneurship, you should do your best to start a company as an underclassman, especially if you’re going to stay in school. And that you should do this because the unique context you’re in allows you a tremendous amount of opportunities without much risk.

    I’ll outline the three reasons I believe this and then delve into each one a bit deeper.

    1. Everybody loves to help college students, so you want to maximize your window to take advantage of these opportunities before you go off on your own.
    2. There’s not really any better use of your time.
    3. You can afford to fail, and stand to gain nearly as much doing so as if you succeed.

    So let’s get into it.

    Everybody loves to help college students

    I cannot begin to describe how many meetings I’ve gotten, how many deals I’ve closed, how many connections people have made for me — simply because I’m a college student.

    It makes PR so much easier (“Two local college students coming together to make something new” rather than “two boring 20-somethings trying to do something with their lives”), it opens you up to tangible resources (a lot of universities, Duke and UNC included, are creating programs and workspaces to help undergraduate entrepreneurs), and it makes most people you encounter really want to help you succeed.

    Unfortunately, most of these perks disappear if you drop out or graduate. And it takes a while for any startup to get going — so if you start as an underclassman, you get three or four years of these perks rather than a year or two. You really ought to take advantage of these perks as much as you can, especially since…

    There’s not really any better use of your time

    If you want to be an entrepreneur, you should be working on companies. Period. If you want to be a pilot, you should by flying planes, if you want to be a yoga instructor, you should be doing yoga, if you want to be a researcher you should be doing research — entrepreneurship is no different.

    One of the saddest things I see in college is droves of students getting majors in entrepreneurship or business without learning anything but some abstract theory. Yeah, there’s theory in business, but I can assure you, it’s about 10% of what you need to know when you’re growing your company.

    duke universityAm I saying that you should never major in business or entrepreneurship? By no means — there have been countless instances where I found myself wishing I knew some more about accounting or marketing best practices, or ROI analysis. But all the knowledge in the world wouldn’t come close to preparing me for the day-to-day of running a company. And running Carpe has prepared me.

    Which gets me to the crux of my argument. I’m not saying you should start your lifelong passion company as an underclassman. I’m saying that you should start any company, not as a play to graduate college as a millionaire, but as a learning opportunity. And with that approach to it…

    You can afford to fail

    If you’re out of college and dropping everything to start a company, that company better do well. Yes, everybody says you should be ready to fail, but if you’re counting on your startup to put food on the table, you can’t really afford to pursue a half-baked idea just to learn some skills. You can’t afford to learn from one of life’s best teachers — you can’t afford to fail. As an underclassman, though, you can do just that.

    One of the single toughest parts of running a company is deciding what you should be allocating your precious time and effort to. And this is a challenge that begins when the company is just a twinkle in your eye, when you’re wondering whether this is the best idea to be working on — because there always is a better idea out there, but you could spend your entire life searching and still not find it.

    So you have to divorce that notion of perfect, you have to turn from the attitude that got you into a great college, that got you this far in life, and finally say “let’s do something that’s good enough”.

    Starting a company as an undergraduate makes that a little bit easier. You’re still growing through school, you’re still advancing your career prospects, even if you realize that you were wrong about your potential company having any market viability.

    So you can stop worrying about ideas and start working on action. Because that’s one of the first lessons you’ll learn as an entrepreneur: The people who think they have the next big idea will, 99 times out of 100, do nothing with it. Ideas are nearly worthless in the real world: it’s putting them into action that matters.

    So let’s say you find an idea you think will work, you find a team you think will work. Will you grow it into a successful company?

    Probably not. But if you commit yourself, if you say “I am starting a company right now, and I’m going to do everything I can to make it a success”, I promise you that you will learn more than you can imagine. You will go from liking the idea of being an entrepreneur, to actually being an entrepreneur. You will gain the knowledge and skills to actually create a competitive company, to actually be a valuable asset to a startup.

    Why am I saying that you’ll probably fail, when Carpe’s been nothing but a success so far? Two reasons.

    First, if I had planned to stake my life on Carpe, I would’ve probably buckled in the first two months, as soon as I began to realize all the things that would have to go just right for this company to work — I would’ve been on the search for more ideas. Instead, I committed myself fully and fearlessly to Carpe, with all its flaws and promises, win or lose. And that’s why we’re winning.

    Second, Carpe wasn’t my first pony. I’d worked on a “startup” (it didn’t get far enough for me to use that word outside of quotes) through my freshman year, a DJ lighting system called Mantis. It was a spectacular failure, but even though we barely got to the prototype stage, it taught me dozens of lessons that allowed Carpe to succeed.

    Some of these lessons were conscious, and I can speak and write about those — people could possibly learn those in a classroom. But far more were unconscious, lessons that I could’ve learned only by working on a startup and living through all the associated risks and rewards and pain. And I’m certain that Carpe would’ve been a failure within its first year if I hadn’t learned those lessons from Mantis. If I hadn’t been in a position where I was allowed to fail. Being an underclassman allowed me exactly that.

    So if you’re wondering whether you should start a company as an underclassman who plans to stay in school, I say do it, do it, do it. You may win, you may lose, but above all, you will learn and grow as an entrepreneur more than you possibly could by doing anything else with your college years.

    SEE ALSO: 6 Steps To Starting A Successful Business In College

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    Susie Moore Headshot_BI1

    If you haven't started your business because you "don't have enough time," you're going to need another excuse.

    In a Facebook Live interview, career coach Susie Moore said not having enough time is a common excuse coaches hear "when it comes to anyone who doesn't want to do anything."

    In 2013, Moore left a sales job where she was earning $500,000 a year at age 30 in order to start her own business as a life coach, after building up her company on the side, to the point where she was earning up to $4,000 a month. Now, she encourages others to pursue entrepreneurship through Side Hustle Academy.

    "We're all overworked, over-scheduled, we want to work out, we have to manage our day job, we want to have a social life, we have families to take care of, so everyone is very, very busy," said the author of "What If It Does Work Out?""That is true." However, she continued, "We all have 24 hours in a day. I joke, you know, you, me, Oprah. Everybody has 24 hours in a day."

    Moore quoted Steven Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," in saying, "Success isn't about prioritizing your schedule. It's scheduling your priorities."

    And, she said, according to Nielson, the average American watches 36 hours of TV a week, "which is crazy! It's five hours and 11 minutes per day."

    So, she asked, "What if you think about what you could do if you just halved your TV time, or halved your social media time, or halved something that isn't serving you or energizing you. The time does appear if you schedule it and make it a priority."

    One of Moore's personal favorite ways to save time is by saying "no." 

    "Warren Buffett actually said the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people say no — a lot," she said. "By saying no to what doesn't serve you, saying no to that brunch date, saying no to that project you don't need to pick up, saying no to picking up your sister's kids because you really can't do it because you need to focus on something else that's more important to you, then that is what you have to do. Really learning to say no and turn things down opens up magical hours in your week, every single week."

    Watch the full Facebook Live interview:

    SEE ALSO: A woman who left her $500,000-a-year job to work for herself says too many entrepreneurs make a huge mistake before they even start

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    Susie Moore Headshot 2_BI

    If you ask Susie Moore, side hustles are the future.

    "It's really not safe to rely on a single paycheck," she said in a Facebook Live interview with Business Insider. "The traditional job market is shrinking. Everybody knows that."

    In 2013, Moore left a sales job where she was earning $500,000 a year at age 30 in order to start her own business as a life coach, after building up her company on the side to the point where she was earning up to $4,000 a month. Now, she encourages others to pursue entrepreneurship through Side Hustle Academy.

    If you're ready to get started on your own hustle, said the author of "What If It Does Work Out?," there are a few things to consider. Ask yourself the following three questions:

    1. Do you love what you're doing?

    "It's hard to run a business," said Moore. "It's tiring, [there's] rejection — lots of things can happen that will test you, so you have to love what you're doing because that will pull you through and you'll persevere. Loving what you do is critical in the long term, to play the long game.  "

    2. Are you good at it?

    Not every hobby or passion worth pursuing as a business, Moore advised. "You have to be really good at what it is that you're providing, because you have to provide massive value to people in the form of a product or service."

    3. Is there a market for it?

    "You have to love it, you have to be good at it, and thirdly, very importantly, there has to be a market for it," she continued. "There have to be people already paying for this product or service somehow, somewhere, in the world already. That's why it's so great to research your competition. Competition is a good thing. It's proof that there is a market for you and that there's demand for what it is that you want to put out into the world. "

    Watch the full Facebook Live interview:

    SEE ALSO: A woman who left her $500,000-a-year job to work for herself says too many entrepreneurs make a huge mistake before they even start

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    susie moore

    Career coach Susie Moore likes to say that we all have 24 hours in a day.

    "We're all overworked, over-scheduled, we want to work out, we have to manage our day job, we want to have a social life, we have families to take care of, so everyone is very, very busy," said the author of "What If It Does Work Out?" in a Facebook Live interview with Business Insider. "That is true."

    However, she continued, "We all have 24 hours in a day. I joke, you know, you, me, Oprah. Everybody has 24 hours in a day."

    In 2013, Moore left a sales job where she was earning $500,000 a year at age 30 in order to start her own business as a life coach, after building up her company on the side, to the point where she was earning up to $4,000 a month. Now, she encourages others to pursue entrepreneurship through Side Hustle Academy.

    "I'm obsessed with productivity hacks and I always think about what I can do to save time, what I can do to be efficient," she told Business Insider. She shared some of her own favorite ways to find more time in the day:

    Say 'no.' A lot.

    One of Moore's personal favorite ways to save time is by saying "no." 

    "Warren Buffett actually said the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people say no — a lot," she said. "By saying no to what doesn't serve you, saying no to that brunch date, saying no to that project you don't need to pick up, saying no to picking up your sister's kids because you really can't do it because you need to focus on something else that's more important to you, then that is what you have to do. Really learning to say no and turn things down opens up magical hours in your week, every single week."

    Know your 'golden hours.'

    Moore calls the most productive hours of your day your "golden hours"— and they're highly individual, although they typically tend to be in the morning. Reserve your golden hours for your "hustle time," said Moore. "For me it's kind of that 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. sweet spot where I can just write like a machine — create a lot of content, do my best work, and then in the afternoons, it would take me probably four to five hours to do the work that I really laser in on in the morning. So by understanding and working with your golden hours, you can get much more done because you maximize your brainpower when it's at its highest capacity."

    Take advantage of your smartphone.

    "Our phone gives us access to everything — we're completely spoiled on what we can do," Moore said. "You can do small things like when you're waiting for a subway or waiting in line at the bank, you can make phone calls. You can pay your bills. So when you use your wait time well, your commute time well, you find these pockets of time: A friend is late meeting you, your meeting is running late. You can get things done very quickly in those pockets of time that free you up for bigger, more important tasks later."

    Watch the full Facebook Live interview:

    SEE ALSO: A woman who left her $500,000-a-year job to work for herself says too many entrepreneurs make a huge mistake before they even start

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    laptop computer remote work home cafe tech workers employees

    It seems that being an entrepreneur has not only become the "cool" thing to do. Thanks to advances in technology and virtual staffing, it is more accessible and flexible than ever before.

    However, if you are going to develop a side hustle into a full-fledged business, you need to be realistic. Most startups fail, and many successful entrepreneurs aren't huge risk takers. In fact, many founders like those of Warby Parker kept their career options open while building their business on the side.

    I've side-hustled writing a book and building The Influencers while holding a full-time job. Managing a side hustle may not be as risky as quitting your job altogether, but it is not without its challenges. To take it from side hustle to the main gig, aspiring entrepreneurs should keep these essentials in mind.

    1. It's going to take a lot of time

    To do anything worthwhile, it takes an average of seven to ten years. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are rare. The venture that you pursue has to be something you are willing to commit to and work on for the next seven years or more of your life. Make sure that you actually like it. Otherwise, you will be stuck in a career that you hate.

    2. Don't go all in too soon

    It's an all too frequent story. People have an idea, and they quit their job to pursue it. In the early stages of a startup, more time doesn't translate to more productivity. Instead, without the safety net of a steady job, you'll likely be more stressed and be less productive.

    Most successful entrepreneurs knew when it was the right time to go from side hustle to full-time gig. (Usually, it is when the startup starts bringing in the cash needed to support them and more.) It's better to wait until the later stages to go all in.

    3. It's not what you know, it is who you know

    While you are forming your idea, make sure you are connecting with the right people. Depending on your industry, critical people might be investors, media or clientele. Your Rolodex needs to be thorough to be able to close deals and support yourself. As any investor will tell you, form connections long before you ever need to ask for anything.

    4. Have the right people on your team

    Don't select a cofounder simply because you grew up together. Members of your founding team should bring a unique skill set and value to the company. If they don't, the role might be better filled by a virtual assistant for a few dollars an hour.

    5. Master productivity

    If you decide it's time to quit your main gig, then you'd better learn efficiency and productivity skills before. There may not be a boss breathing down your neck to make sure you get your work done, but you could have investors and customers.

    Recognize that although quitting your job may give you more available hours to work, it's what you do with the time that you have that matters. Don't think that having more time will make you work faster. The time constraints of a full-time job can actually force you to be more productive, which is essential in the early stages.

    Productivity tools make it possible to hold a job while running an effective business and earning major income on the side. You can learn and develop productivity skills by connecting with my friends and experts at Leverage or Lifehack Bootcamp. Need logos, graphics or web design? Hire a professional through Fiverr. If you need an extra hand, hire a virtual assistant for cheap through Upwork.

    Need to incorporate or get legal advice? Many universities and law schools offer free support to entrepreneurs. It gives their students training and experience and supports local businesses.

    There are more resources than ever for budding entrepreneurs to build the business and career of their dreams. However, it doesn't mean that you need to jump ship from the start. It is possible to work on your side-hustle and keep your day job (at least for a little while) with these principles in mind.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 best places for new grads to launch their career

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    susie moore 1In 2013, Susie Moore left a sales job where she was earning $500,000 a year at age 30 in order to start her own business after building up her company on the side to the point where she was earning up to $4,000 a month

    Now, she encourages others to pursue entrepreneurship through Side Hustle Academy.

    Moore says one of the most common mistakes she sees among entrepreneurs who are just starting out is a skewed view of the role money will play in their success.

    "Sometimes where there's a challenge is there's a misunderstanding of sales versus profit," Moore said in a Facebook Live interview with Business Insider. "You need to have profit clarity in terms of what it is that you're doing, including your time. That's an investment. Even if you're not investing in physical products that you're selling, your time itself is a valuable commodity. It's very important to understand what your product clarity is, how you're going to be making money, and then have an idea of how that is going to scale and be possible for you to continue with it and grow over time."

    Often, Moore said, people will start making sales "but they charge too low, they kind of start cheap because they don't feel confident, and then they stay there. And then the side hustle gets tiring, because it really does take your energy, it takes your creativity, and when you don't get the financial support, you just don't feel supported. Then, you're not really in a position to want to continue."

    She says that she sees this pattern among many of the women she works with in particular. "We have a lot of problems receiving and challenges receiving and commanding what it is that we're worth," she said. "So it's very important to have an understanding of the type of money you would like to make, especially over time as your business evolves, and to be ok to receive it, and to keep growing it."

    And what about figuring out how much you should be charging? Here's Moore:

    "It really comes down to the research. Google is everything. You have a personal assistant at your disposal constantly. Whatever you want to do — let's say you want to cook healthy meals in San Francisco — there are already people doing that. So look it up! Understand at least 3-5 people in your space, how they're doing it, how they're packaging it, what you like about it, how you'll add your unique flair, and really just ascertain what's going to work for you based on your resources, your time, your means, and then just pull the trigger.

    "People all get caught up and think, 'Oh people are already doing it so the world doesn't need me.' But imagine if every restaurant owner said 'Who needs another sushi bar?' or 'Who needs another Italian pasta place?' The world will always have demand for more and more, and you'll bring your uniqueness to it. So it's very important to understand your market, understand where you're entering, understand the price, understand the types of services and products available, and then understand what will feel right for you."

    The most important thing, she said, is simply to start. "People blog for hours, or they take loads of pretty photos, they even invest some money, they take various courses, but never actually take the leap in terms of making something for sale," Moore said. "That's what really turns a hobby into a hustle: that one dollar. The most important thing is to begin and to be open for business."

    Watch the full Facebook Live interview:

    SEE ALSO: 32 life lessons I learned by age 32

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    Susie Moore Headshot_BI1

    When Susie Moore left a sales job where she was earning $500,000 a year at age 30 in order to start her own business as a life and career coach in 2013, she was feeling good.

    "In the beginning I was certainly very optimistic and enthusiastic," she said in a Facebook Live interview with Business Insider. She had built up her company on the side to the point where she was earning up to $4,000 a month and she was ready to go full-time.

    But looking back, Moore said, she has some advice for herself in those early days.

    "I would say it's OK to have some disappointments," said the author of "What If It Does Work Out?" "It's not the end of the world. Sometimes you can feel very dramatic, you know, if something bad goes wrong. It's OK having disappointments; everyone has setbacks, even successful people. And I would have almost asked myself to expect some disappointments along the way, versus being surprised or sad when they happen."

    Four years later, she encourages others to pursue entrepreneurship through Side Hustle Academy.

    Her second piece of advice — useful for anyone with an online presence — would be "to be OK with haters, to be OK with criticism," she said. "It happens, it will always happen — it's proof that you're growing."

    Moore quoted Dale Carnegie, who "said no one kicks a dead dog."

    She also pointed to entrepreneur James Altucher, who "talks about the law of thirds: He says there will be one third of people who really like you, a third of people who won't like you, and a third of people who will be indifferent to you. So focus on your third. The people who don't like you, love and just release them. I would tell myself that, because I had my struggles in the beginning."

    Watch the full Facebook Live interview:

    SEE ALSO: A woman who left her $500,000-a-year job to work for herself says too many entrepreneurs make a huge mistake before they even start

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    Denver Colorado

    It's been nearly nine years since America fell into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. While the recovery has been slow and steady on the whole, some states have bounced back stronger than others.

    As part of its 2017 best states ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranked each US state on three economic indicators:

    • Growth: GDP growth from 2012 to 2015, growth rate of the total population aged 25 to 29 between 2012 and 2015, and average net migration (people moving to and from the state).
    • Employment: The annual growth of nonfarm jobs from 2012 to 2015, the percentage of residents age 16 or older who participated in the labor force in 2015, and the November 2016 unemployment rate.
    • Business: The number of new businesses formed between 2013 and 2015 and the average number of patents per 1 million residents granted during the same period.

    U.S. News then combined these rankings — growth (50%), employment (30%), business (20%) — to form its list of states with the strongest economies.

    The country's most populous states — California, Texas, and Florida — all appear on the list. But it's Colorado and North Dakota that come out on top, with high marks for young population growth and job opportunities.  

    Read on to see the top 15 states where young people are moving in, jobs are plentiful, and business is booming.

    SEE ALSO: The 15 best US states to start a business

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    15. Oregon

    Population4 million

    Growth rank: 14

    Employment rank: 24

    Business environment rank: 14

    14. Georgia

    Population10.2 million

    Growth rank: 11

    Employment rank: 31

    Business environment rank: 16

    13. New Hampshire

    Population1.3 million

    Growth rank: 31

    Employment rank: 6

    Business environment rank: 11

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    road truck

    Here's something that's really important to know about becoming an entrepreneur.

    If you're used to achieving things, be prepared for the road to have no markers anymore.

    You will feel lost for long stretches. The uncertainty can be agonizing — everyday, you wonder, "am I doing the right things?"

    There is no racetrack anymore.

    If you have taken the right amount of risk, you will wonder what you have done with your life. "Have I blown it in life?"

    That's good if you feel that way. You're growing. You're becoming a creator, rather than an achiever chasing the next rabbit.

    After about 2 or 3 years of dealing with these uncertainties, everything gets a lot easier.

    Your body becomes used to the uncertainty.

    You can't intellectualize your way to that feeling. But when you get there, it's very freeing. Uncertainty no longer affects you nearly as much. You just try to learn as fast as you can and sell your ideas.

    You are now officially an entrepreneur. You're a creator, inventing the future.

    Peter Sims is the founder and CEO of Parliament Inc. and the author of "Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries" and "True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership." Follow him on Twitter here. Visit his website here.

    A version of this post originally appeared on Facebook here.

    SEE ALSO: 8 types of people who will never be able to start a business

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    Kathryn Minshew

    Dream big.

    It's probably one of the most common, well-meaning pieces of advice out there.

    In order to achieve success, all we have to do is shoot for the stars, and refuse to let anything limit us or our ideas, right?

    Well, that's not the whole story.

    This sort of "bigger is better" thinking can also prove to be a double-edged sword, at least in the entrepreneurial world.

    Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse, knows this well.

    In 2011, at age 26, she quit her job at the Clinton Health Access Initiative to found the career-development platform, which now accrues 50 million unique visitors annually.

    She says that entrepreneurs need to balance dreaming big with starting small. Otherwise, they could be setting themselves up for failure.

    "It can be very tempting as a founder to try and build the biggest, grandest possible iteration of your vision right away, but you don't know what you don't know," she tells Business Insider. "You could spend a lot of time and money creating something only to realize that the market needs you to move in a different direction."

    Minshew says that it's better to base your first foray into the business world on data and trial-and-error, rather than some grand vision of what your business should be.

    To paraphrase the cliché, world-shaking startups aren't built in a day.

    When Minshew and her co-founder Alexandra Cavoulacos created their first mock-up of their website, they included "all kinds of bells and whistles."

    "We got great advice from one of our early advisers: Just launch something," Minshew says. "Keep it simple. It required us to go back to the drawing board and launch with the simplest version of our idea, which ultimately became the early version of our core product, our Muse company profiles. If we had tried to build everything from the get-go, we probably never would have gotten off the ground."

    What's more, in the early days, the startup simply didn't have enough money in the bank to support full-time employees.

    "Our 'start small' step in the meantime was to work with part-time employees and interns — many of whom did turn into employees down the line," she says.

    That being said, Minshew adds that having a grand vision is still a crucial part of achieving success. It's okay to dream big, as long as you're not struggling to force your new business to live up to those unrealistic standards. By taking a more prudent approach to founding a business, you'll be setting yourself up for success in the long run.

    "Dreaming big is important so you know where you're going," Minshew says. "It's also often important to have that big vision to motivate your team and to carve out a place in a market. But in terms of actually building things and deploying resources, it's often helpful to start fairly small."

    SEE ALSO: A CEO who ditched corporate America to run her own startup explains how to decide whether to quit your day job

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