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The latest news on Entrepreneurship from Business Insider

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    performer musician busker

    How do you know if your business idea is any good?

    In a video published to the I Will Teach You to Be Rich Youtube channel, Ramit Sethi, CEO of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and GrowthLab, presents what he calls the "pay certainty technique." (He named it that, he says, because it makes certain you get paid.)

    Once you've narrowed down some possibilities for your target audience — say, 40-45-year-old women or 35-year-old senior executives — it's time to ask yourself two questions:

    1. Would these people have the ability to pay ? Do they actually have enough money?
    2. Do they have the willingness to pay? Would they even agree to pay for this? 

    It seems simple, but being honest with yourself about these two questions alone can eliminate up to 75% of non-tenable business ideas, Sethi says. He gives an example: Imagine you're a really good stylist. You're excellent at dressing men.

    You ask yourself the two questions above in regards to three potential sets of customers:

    18-year-old men

    1. Do they have the ability to pay? No, they don't have the money.
    2. Do they have the willingness to pay? No. "They don't care. They dress in tee-shirts. They go to college."

    65-year-old retiree men

    1. Do they have the ability to pay? Yes, they have the money.
    2. Do they have the willingness to pay? No. "They're wearing Hawaiian shirts at the golf course. They don't give a damn."

    35-to-40-year-old senior executives or executives

    1. Do they have the ability to pay? Yes, they have the money.
    2. Do they have the willingness to pay? Yes. "For them, looking good is important to their corporate careers."

    "Is this a broad generalization?" Sethi asks. "Yes. Are there exceptions? Yes. Do I want to spend all my time pursuing a potential idea that has very little chance of succeeding? No."

    Watch the full video on Youtube » 

    SEE ALSO: How to find a business idea — and figure out if it's any good

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: There's a simple way to see if your business idea is any good


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    Kelly Peeler Headshot

    Kelly Peeler, 29, has had a knack for building and growing a business that started long before her Ivy League days.

    As an 11-year-old growing up in New Jersey, Peeler would dumpster dive for old furniture and refurbish the pieces with an antique look, then sell them for up to $3,000.

    "I have always loved selling things," she told Business Insider.

    Peeler is now founder and CEO of New York-based startup NextGenVest, which helps students navigate the complicated financial aid process. She looks back on her prior business endeavors — she also founded an Iraqi student-run incubator called Business Across Borders — to pinpoint her biggest advice on growing a business.

    "Be completely obsessed with your user and be empathetic," Peeler said. "Once I become hooked on a problem, I become obsessed with it," she continued. "I want to learn everything there is to know about it ... and become number one in the world at solving that problem."

    In 2010, Peeler graduated from Harvard University and began working in JPMorgan's financial institutions group — a division within its investment bank — before moving into asset management at the bank. There she worked with clients interested in indirectly shorting the student-loan market. That work illuminated, in Peeler's estimation, what she described as "the next financial crisis." She quit her job at JPM and threw herself into helping young people navigate the student-loan system.

    As she grew the company she realized that she couldn't do it all. "Delegate your weaknesses," Peeler said. "Early on I would try and do too much," she continued. Surrounding herself with a competent team, including the more than 200 "money mentors" who advise students, was essential in creating the business.

    Today, NextGenVest serves tens of thousands of people, according to Peeler. The company targets the "Snapchat Generation," providing free assistance to students filling out financial-aid forms, or advising on accepting packages at schools that make the most financial sense. Much of this work is done over text message and late at night, when NextGenVest says most young people are looking for help.

    Again, Peeler points to her passion for the work as what the drives the company forward. She says she's always thinking of her users — the college students who feel "so lonely that they don't know where to turn."

    SEE ALSO: A startup CEO explains the problem with telling entrepreneurs to 'dream big'

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Vday_rooftop_proposal

    Ash Fox is a professional proposal planner and photographer.

    Since she started her business in 2012, she's helped plan and photograph almost 1,000 marriage proposals.

    Her favorite part of her job is seeing a proposal executed from start to finish. She enjoys being a part of an amazing moment, she told Business Insider. "These days, people feel like there's no such thing as romance anymore and that chivalry is dead, but these clients are really making it happen."

    In her experience so far, no one has ever said no.

    Fox works with clients from all over the world. From the time they contact her asking for ideas to the moment they get down on one knee, she's there through it all.

    SEE ALSO: I spent 8 hours shadowing a wedding planner — from chandeliers to roof leaks to pillows, here's what her job is like

    This is 30-year-old Ash Fox. She grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey and attended college at NYU. She graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts and has worked as a photographer ever since.



    Fox has worked with couples of all backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, and ages 18 through 80. She estimates that 75% of her clients have come from outside of New York City, so she often works through Skype and phone calls to plan their big moment.



    Most people who are proposing come to Fox for her experience — she is able to act as a mentor and coach for her clients, guiding them through the whole process.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Fidget 360

    The INSIDER Summary:

    • Last fall, 17-year-olds Allan Maman and Cooper Weiss began selling 3D-printed fidget spinners in their high school.
    • Six months later, they had built an empire, gained a famous mentor, and made $350,000.
    • Along the way, Maman and Weiss had to give up their social lives and grades and risked getting suspended from their high school.
    • Their advice for young entrepreneurs? Persevere, put in the hustle, and embrace failure at a young age.


    In the past year, 17-year-olds Allan Maman and Cooper Weiss have built a company from the ground up, risked getting suspended from school, and made roughly $350,000 in the process.

    It all started with a 3D printer in their high school's science lab and a little something called the fidget spinner.

    Back in the fall, Maman — then a senior at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, New York — was browsing the internet for something to help his ADHD. He came across the Fidget Cube on Kickstarter, a "desk toy for people who like to fidget" that had raised over $6 million. The only catch? It wouldn't ship for another six months.

    Curious, Maman found alternatives on sites like Etsy where individual people and shops were selling 3D-printed fidget spinners. But he couldn't find a company that mass-produced them. "I saw that my school had a 3D printer," Maman told INSIDER, "so I was like, 'I could probably do this myself.'"

    Allan Maman and Cooper Weiss

    Maman teamed up with his classmate and friend Cooper Weiss, who he'd worked with before to create Nito, an app designed to help students get an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at prospective colleges.

    The two started experimenting in their high school's science lab, using a 3D printer to make fidget spinners. Almost immediately, their spinners took off: First the "cool kids" bought one and then, everyone else did. Before long, Maman and Weiss were making around $500 every day selling their fidget spinners for $25 each.

    But when their high school threatened to suspend them — allegedly for using school property to make a profit — the two moved their business to the basement of Weiss' parents' house.

    Operating on the hunch that their spinners would explode if they took them online and mass-marketed them, Maman and Weiss bought eight 3D printers, created an Instagram account, and started selling their spinners on Shopify — officially launching their company, Fidget360.

    For about three months, Maman and Weiss worked until midnight or later, improving their company and creating new designs. "We didn't go out, we didn't have a social life, grades were terrible, we just non-stop worked," Maman said.

    Their hustle paid off. Fidget360 soon caught the attention of Gerard Adams, the founder of both "Elite Daily" and a startup accelerator called Fownders. Adams, who is now Maman and Weiss' mentor, provided enough funding that the two could expand their business once again — this time, to a factory in Brooklyn, NY.

    It was a game-changing move, to say the least.

    Within six months, Maman and Weiss grew their company to around 30 part-time employees (all students aged 14 to 18 years old), amassed over 160,000 followers on Instagram, nabbed a deal that put 300,000 spinners in Walmarts across the country, and made about $350,000 — all before the end of their senior year.

    Allan Maman/Cooper Weiss Fidget 360

    Until very recently, no one knew what a fidget spinner was, although variations of a "spinning toy" have existed as early as the '90s. So perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Fidget360's success is how it helped the spinner go viral.

    "Without social media, I don't really know where we'd be right now," Weiss told INSIDER, "99% of our sales are from Instagram." When asked why he and Maman focused mostly on Instagram, compared to Facebook or Snapchat, Weiss added, "Us being teens, we use Instagram the most, and we know what all the other kids are using."

    In fact, when they experimented with ads on Facebook, they had a hard time reaching their target demographic. "It was mostly parents commenting on our stuff, " Weiss said. On Instagram, however, he and Maman could link kids directly to the Fidget360 website by paying influencers and popular meme pages to do shout-outs.

    #TagAFriend and say nothing!! 😂😂😂

    A post shared by Original #1 Fidget Spinners! (@fidget360) on May 21, 2017 at 3:59pm PDT on

    Although Maman and Weiss didn't invent the fidget spinner — a point which they repeatedly stressed — they pride themselves on being at the forefront of the fidget spinner craze. "We were the first company to mass-produce and mass-market them on social media," Weiss explained.

    And looking back, the two have already identified mistakes they plan to avoid in the future. Their biggest regret? Not mass-producing their spinners sooner. Four or five months ago, before they could make an injection mold of their Fidget360 spinner in China, millions were suddenly being mass-produced and sold.

    "If we were able to make that mold, all the ones in Walgreens and Target, the ones on the streets of New York City, those could have been ours instead of knockoffs," Maman said.

    Maman and Weiss also wish they had branded themselves more clearly on Instagram or pursued profit-sharing deals with famous YouTubers. "When people see our spinners on a meme page, they're like 'Oh, it's a fidget spinner,' not 'Oh, that's a Fidget360,'" Weiss explained. "We get tagged in a lot of photos of regular spinners or ones that aren't even ours."

    Allan Maman/Cooper Weiss Fidget 360

    But Maman and Weiss don't like to focus on regrets or worry about the past. After all, between the two of them, they've already created a handful of mobile apps — not all of which have been successful. When I asked them what advice they had for young entrepreneurs, they talked about the importance of perseverance, working hard, and embracing failure when you're young.

    Instead of waiting for an opportunity or idea to come to you, "you have to put in the work and just do something," Weiss said. "A lot of people think about ideas or talk about ideas, but you actually have to go out and take action." 

    "Nowadays, people think it's bad when you fail, but there's a lot you can learn," Maman said. Weiss added, "Just us being so young, we have a lot of room to fail. It's not like we have to pay rent or pay bills, so [failure] isn't a big deal. Allan and I are just so motivated to keep working now as hard as we can, so later on, we can just kind of sit back."

    Allan Maman/Cooper Weiss Fidget 360

    So, what's next for these two young moguls?

    Weiss is off to the University of Michigan, where he hopes to work on his own side projects between taking business classes. As for Maman, a self-described serial entrepreneur who created his first app when he was just 15 years old, a more traditional path or office job has never been appealing.

    Despite being in two different states, the two plan to reinvest the money they made from Fidget360. In fact, they've already started working on their next big idea — although they're keeping it under wraps for now.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A psychologist debunks the claim that fidget spinners help kids focus


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    RTSNKTVThere’s an age-old stereotype that philosophy majors are unemployable; the joke goes something like this:

    The engineering graduate asks, “How does it work?”

    The law school graduate asks, “Is it legal?”

    The philosophy graduate asks, “Would you like fries and a Coke with that?”

    Sure, it’s funny — but is it true?

    The numbers say no. In fact, only 5 percent of recent philosophy grads struggle to find jobs. And when accomplished entrepreneurs like Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel and Carly Fiorina credit their philosophy backgrounds for their success, you have to wonder if they’re on to something.

    After all, many of the same qualities that make a good entrepreneur are the same qualities that make a good philosopher. Both occupations require clear communication, critical thinking and the ability to sell your ideas. And while these are just a few skills that entrepreneurs share with philosophers, there are many more valuable lessons that founders and CEOs can learn from this ancient yet timeless discipline.

    Here are five reasons why philosophy majors make great entrepreneurs.

    1. Their love of debate

    One important skill that all philosophy majors learn is the ability to follow an argument all the way to the end. It’s a valuable skill if you’re running a meeting or sitting in front of potential investors. Healthy debate becomes more important when your business starts to grow and you’ve got more stakeholders; in fact, debate is often the key to finding the most effective course of action.

    One way to add value to your business is to implement an open debate policy and encourage your employees — no matter what level they are — to share a different point of view or contest decisions that they don’t agree with. Remember, you’re not trying to win arguments (“be right”), rather, you’re trying to find the best path forward (“get it right”).

    2. They're comfortable with the uncomfortable

    As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to make decisions on issues that aren’t always black and white. That means you’ll have to get comfortable working in an environment where there are few guarantees. For most people, it’s a steep learning curve, but for students of philosophy, ambiguity is nothing new.

    Philosophy teaches you to manage that uncertainty and stay calm. As an entrepreneur, you’re always — in the words of Walt Whitman — “conquering, holding, daring, venturing.” You’ll likely spend a lot of your time in the great unknown, so you’ll need to be able to tolerate ambiguity. Next time you find yourself at a fork in the road, think about making a decision with 51% confidence. While it’s not ideal, it’s far better than waiting for solutions that never present themselves.

    3. They see the big picture in the smallest details

    If you can’t see the big picture, you could end up pursuing ideas that don’t go anywhere. It’s easy to get sidetracked by details and suddenly find yourself in the weeds. A philosophy background is invaluable here as it helps you envision how smaller decisions will eventually fit into bigger ones and how your offerings will help your company down the line.

    One way to ensure that you’re always on the right track is to step back and ask yourself how new features might fit into your broader product offerings or how minor tweaks might affect your future expansion plans.

    4. They keep their emotions in check 

    It’s important to have a passion for what you do, but you never want to confuse enthusiasm with capability. In philosophy, you learn to detach from your emotions and make decisions with sound logic. As an entrepreneur, that’s a valuable lesson, since it’s easy to fall in love with a new idea or product, especially if you’ve already invested a lot of time or money into it, and overlook obvious flaws.

    If you find yourself falling head over heels for a new project, ask yourself if you’re really taking the best approach or ask someone else to provide a second opinion on whether or not you’re moving in the right direction.

    5. They dissect complex problems

    Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” This quote highlights a skill that philosophy majors have to master: the ability to break down complex problems into simpler ones. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to solve complex problems early and often. You’ll have a leg up if you can break them down into digestible pieces, rather than trying to solve them all at once.

    While entrepreneurs can benefit from a number of different backgrounds, many of the traits that make great business leaders are shared by philosophers around the world. So the next time you find yourself struggling with a complex problem or in a situation where there’s no clear solution, take a step back, swap out Carnegie for Plato, and try and look at things from the perspective of a philosophy major. 

    SEE ALSO: Here's what Jeff Bezos' 'Day 1' philosophy is all about

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Mount Everest is not the tallest mountain in the world


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    Hamptons Free Ride

    Growing up in the Hamptons, Alex Esposito and James Mirras knew one thing to be true: The beach was great, but the parking sucked.

    Between the crowds and the permit-required parking lots, there was rarely an easy — or cheap — way to enjoy a summer day on the sand.

    In 2009, Esposito and Mirras, now both 30, finished their undergraduate studies at the University of Florida and Bentley University, respectively. They toyed with the idea of starting a shuttle bus company as a solution to their childhood grievance.

    But there were vehicle costs, like insurance, maintenance, and fuel, to consider. Plus, the two were eager to begin their professional lives; Mirras was off to work at Morgan Stanley and Esposito was pursuing his MBA at Bentley.

    "We ended up putting the idea on the back burner," Esposito told Business Insider. That is, until a few years later when a discussion about using freebies as a tool to sell products came up in one of Esposito's business school classes.

    "So, Starbucks gives away internet to sell coffee, Gillette gives away razors to sell blades. James and I kind of scratched our heads and said, well, what if we made our beach bus free?" Esposito told Business Insider. "We decided to put together this model where, if electric cars can cut out the cost of fuel, and if advertisers can pay to sponsor the service, then we can provide a totally free service for this one-to-two mile gap."

    They ran with the idea — but kept at their day jobs — and founded the Free Ride in the summer of 2011, debuting with a few open-air, fully electric cars operating in East Hampton. Riders could either hail a shuttle from the app, or wave one down on the street for a ride to the beach or a local restaurant. The next summer, the network expanded to include routes in Montauk and Southampton.

    Nothing more refreshing than an iced cold @cocacola! Tag a friend you'd share one with! 👭 #thefreeride #shareacoke

    A post shared by The Free Ride (@thefreerideinc) on Jun 14, 2017 at 2:51pm PDT on

    In a crowded summer destination like the Hamptons, Esposito and Mirras found companies were willing to pay big for innovative and interactive advertising. Big enough, in fact, that it covers operating costs, and riders don't have to pay a dime.

    By the following summer, Mirras had left Morgan Stanley to run operations for the Free Ride full-time. They added additional routes in South Florida and Santa Monica, California, and were soon partnering with household brands like JetBlue, Corona, Coco-Cola, and, later, L'Oreal. Since then, ad revenues have surpassed seven-figures, nearly doubling every year, according to Esposito. 

    Not only are the cars wrapped in fun, cheeky advertisements, some of the companies provide freebies, like cold drinks, snacks, and beauty product samples, to riders. Plus, an iPad inside each car doubles as an interactive video advertisement and photo booth.

    Esposito eventually quit his job at consulting company Accenture to join Mirras to bring the Free Ride to other cities around the country. 

    "I think a lot of people nowadays look at startups as a way to get away from a desk job, but you really need to create the startup before you can take that leap, and I think that's something we both did well," Esposito said. 

    Pimp my ride! Catch a ride to #VVPalmBeach with @thefreerideinc! #EDSFTG

    A post shared by vineyard vines (@vineyardvines) on Apr 23, 2017 at 10:50am PDT on

    They recently started expanding beyond beach-only routes. Late last year, they partnered with the city of San Diego to launch FRED, Free Ride Everywhere Downtown, an e-hailing service covering about a two-mile radius within the city.

    Esposito calls it a "micro-transit solution" because it fills a gap that buses, trains, yellow cabs, and even Uber and Lyft don't fill: short, free rides you can request via an app or hail from the street.

    "The response was tremendous, we had over 20,000 people sign up for the app within the first six weeks of the program, and almost 4,000 rides a week in San Diego," Esposito said.

    Esposito envisions a more efficient, eco-friendly, and data-driven solution to public transit, and says other municipalities have reached out to bring the Free Ride to their cities as well. "The idea of having three buses that carry 25 passengers running all the time is just horribly inefficient," he said. "That's really where our eyes kind of opened up and we said, why have three caterpillars when we can have 20 ants?"

    The Free Ride currently operates a fleet of 82 shuttles — all driven by Free Ride employees rather than contractors — operating throughout the Hamptons, South Florida, Southern California, and the Jersey Shore, each with its own operating hours and pre-determined route. Cars that aren't being used in one market, like New York during the winter, are either transferred to a busier market, or used for private events. 

    To date, the company has given 1 million free rides.

    "We haven't burned an ounce of fuel doing it and it's really been exciting seeing the business pivot from what was once a fun, little beach shuttle idea into now what we see as being a huge micro-transit solution that's applicable in areas all over the country and all over the world," Esposito said.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what it's like to spend July 4th in the most expensive vacation town in America

    DON'T MISS: The 17 best places to go this summer that don't cost a fortune

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What it's like to take the 'Uber of seaplanes' from NYC to the Hamptons


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    Trevor Booker

    You might say that Trevor Booker moonlights as a power forward for the Brooklyn Nets.

    But during the daylight hours and the offseason, when he's not playing professional basketball, Booker's work interests extend far beyond the hard court. He's invested in real estate and owns 18 companies that include sports academies, a private high school, a record label, and a VC firm. 

    "To say that I'm an entrepreneur is an understatement," Booker told Business Insider. 

    It was with this in mind that Booker visited San Francisco and Silicon Valley this week with 13 other players on a tour organized by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). As part of the tour the players met with representatives of tech firms IBM, Intel and STRIVR.

    For Booker, STRIVR was the highlight. The company is working on ways to train people using virtual reality headsets. It's focused particularly on training college and professional athletes, giving them a chance to experience scenarios that might come up in games without having to break a sweat. 

    "I could definitely see myself using it as an athlete," Booker said of STRIVR's virtual reality training device. "They can help you shoot a game in real time and shoot it from your point of view." 

    The NBPA organizes regular seminars that focus on different industries. Its tour of Silicon Valley is an annual offseason tradition. The effort is all part of the union's greater initiative to prepare professional athletes for life beyond the court. Last year, the NBA hosted a similar tour that took players to Google and Facebook. Trevor Booker

    Booker said he joined the trip just to see what he could learn. He's participated in other seminars before and met a lot of valuable people through them.

    At Intel, that happened to be the staff, which Brooker said stood out as particularly diverse.

    "That’s something I love to see," he said. "I don’t think you see enough minorities or women in the tech field."

    The players also met IBM's Jeopardy-winning artificial intelligence system, Watson — "Not he. It." But perhaps the most meaningful meet-and-greets happened among the players themselves.  

    "One of the things that we brought up is that we don't know what each other has going on," Booker said about his fellow basketball players. "We wish that more [players] would take advantage of their resources to start business ventures and do something different. 

    "We can really help each other's businesses, so that's something we vowed to do."

    SEE ALSO: American Airlines looks to the IBM Cloud to end travel hell

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how LeBron James reacted when he learned Kevin Durant was joining the Warriors


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    Mario Batali

    Mario Batali is a celebrity chef.

    He's also a businessman.

    Batali is co-host host of cooking show "The Chew," owner of Eataly markets and dozens of restaurants with business partner Joe Bastianich, author of numerous books, and has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $13 million.

    In an interview with Wealthsimple, the celebrity chef explained how he got to where he is today.

    He and a business partner borrowed the money to open Pò, his first restaurant, for $32,000 in 1993. "We paid our investors back in eight months and owned a really good restaurant that, in its day, was doing about $2.5 million a year, which was — and is — a lot of f---ing money," he said.

    He met his current business partner, Joe Bastianich, while starring in "Molto Mario" on the Food Network and after selling his first book. Batali and Bastianich pooled their resources to open their next restaurant, Babbo, which made Batali a "a couple hundred grand" within a year.

    And then, he started looking at what else he could do with the money. He told Wealthsimple:

    "Just like when you buy that first ounce of weed and sell three-quarters of it (or so I'm told), we started to reinvest our capital in new ventures. We now have 28 restaurants and a $200 million a year business, so we're doing alright.
    "Of everything I do—TV, books, product lines — restaurants are by far the most lucrative. Almost all of our restaurants are partnered, meaning that the chef and general manager have a small piece of equity, even if they didn't chip in. When you give someone equity, they operate like owners — no one steals chickens, no one walks out with a case of wine because they feel like they're being screwed by the man."

    Batali advises any businessperson looking to grow their prospects to set goals for the short, mid, and long term.

    "You don't have to be a slave to them, but you need to get on a path to what you think is a better place, whether that's owning a restaurant, working in Aspen in the summer and the Caribbean in the winter, or whatever," he said. "Find the lifestyle that is conducive to making you extremely happy. Happiness is so much more important than money. I know a bunch of stoned-out bus drivers in San Francisco who are happier than many of my friends in New York who make more than $1 million a year."

    Read the full story at Wealthsimple »

    SEE ALSO: 2 women who built a business while at Goldman Sachs and Marc Jacobs explain how corporate jobs made them better entrepreneurs

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Forget work-life balance — living 'the good life' means being successful in these 4 metrics


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    Two Monkeys Antarctica

    Kach and Jonathan Howe met in Luang Prabang, Laos, in 2013.

    They'd each recently quit their corporate jobs at home, in the Philippines for Kach and the UK for Jonathan, to travel full-time.

    Since then, the couple — who wed in the UK in July 2016 — have launched a successful blog and online business while traveling to over 70 countries together.

    "Those four years have been a mixture of full-time travel and temporary homes," Jonathan, 32, and Kach, 29, told Business Insider. "We lived together in Hanoi, Vietnam, teaching English for eight months, Ollantaytambo and Arequipa in Peru for a total of about seven months, in Bogota, Colombia for about six months and Costa Rica for three months."

    Their travels are funded by income from their websites, Two Monkeys Travel and Mr. & Mrs. Howe, and sponsorships from hotels and brands.

    The Howe's next adventure? Living aboard a 37-foot sailboat for a year, starting in the Caribbean and sailing through the Panama Canal and onto the Pacific Ocean. 

    Read on to learn about how Kach and Jonathan balance work and full-time travel.

    Follow their adventures on their Instagram pages, @2monkeystravel and @mrandmrshowe.

    SEE ALSO: Meet the adventurous couple who has spent the past 4 years living in Airbnbs around the world for under $90 a night

    DON'T MISS: A 27-year-old who saves 65% of his income shares his 7 best tips for traveling on a budget

    Kach and Jonathan started their nomadic lifestyle together in Hanoi, Vietnam, teaching English for about $3,500 a month.

    Instagram Embed:
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     In Paris, France.

     

     



    "I only knew what I was doing as far as teaching English," Jonathan said. "I didn't have a long-term plan. I didn't know what would happen."

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     In Cancun, Mexico.

     

     



    Next, they headed to India to get certified in Ayurveda massage and Tantra Yoga, a process that took about three months.

    Instagram Embed:
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    In Australia.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    emir boat

    The INSIDER Summary:

    • Emir Bahadir is a real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and Instagram star with 557,000 followers.
    • His luxurious lifestyle involves private jets, exclusive parties, and glamorous vacations.
    • He hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs to work hard and live their dreams.


    Emir Bahadir likes to stay busy.

    When he's not running his New York City brokerage firm or designing clothes, skincare products, and bitmojis, the 25-year-old is jet-setting to glamorous vacations and exclusive parties around the world with 557,000 Instagram followers watching his every move.

    In his first US interview, Bahadir spoke to INSIDER about his fabulous lifestyle — and how it's not always as perfect as Instagram might make it seem.

    SEE ALSO: We went to a glamorous poker event where billionaires, athletes, and poker pros face off

    Emir Bahadir is an entrepreneur and businessman from Istanbul, Turkey.



    "Growing up, I was raised very international," he told INSIDER.

    He attended The American School in Switzerland and NY,  and traveled frequently with his family — who happen to be Turkish real estate moguls.

    "I'm pretty accustomed to packing a bag and jumping on a plane and attending a dinner in Europe on the same day, because that's the way my family functions, that's the way that I grew up," he said. 



    While he still has the support of his family, he also has his own goals.

    "I've proven to them that I can do things on my own," he said. "At the end of the day, my reason for everything is to be respected for who I am today, rather than my last name or what my family has built over the years."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Glassdoor office

    LONDON – Glassdoor, founded in 2007 in San Francisco, has grown from nothing to become the second biggest jobs website in North America and one of the fastest-growing job listing websites in the world.

    The company, known for its anonymous reviews of companies by staff, employs over 700 people and runs 15 localised sites around the world.

    Founder and CEO Robert Hohman has led Glassdoor on the journey from startup, to scale-up, to established player. So what advice can Hohman share with would-be entrepreneurs?

    "I think it's really important to focus," Hohman told Business Insider. "When I am asked by entrepreneurs for my advice, that's probably the thing I keep coming back to again and again and again: focus, focus, focus."

    Hohman's advice echoes Nick Wheeler, the founder of UK shirt maker Charles Tyrwhitt. Wheeler told Business Insider last month: "One of the really important lessons I learned is a lot of it is about focus." Both Hohman and Wheeler think entrepreneurs should focus on doing one thing incredibly well, rather than quickly branching out to new business areas and markets.

    "I think people underestimate the de-focusing and the inherent cost that come with opening a very, very wide front of activities you're working on," Hohman said.

    Hohman has a specific warning for digital businesses considering international expansion. He told BI: "Being a web or internet company means it's a heck of a lot easier to expand internationally than if you were running a factory — you'd have to build the machines, install them and all that. It's an inherently easier thing to do. It's very tempting to do it quickly.

    "Get your core machine working in one location, one country, understand it deeply, and only then begin to think about going global."

    He added: "It's hard to scale period. As you grow and you begin to execute in other countries it's really important to understand and to build a local presence. It's a challenge. Many companies are doing it faster than they've ever done before and that is inherently complicated."

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    • Nasdaq   MarketSnacks Show Photo 2   Friday 2.3.2017.JPGNicolas Martell and Jack Kramer are the cofounders and co-CEOs of daily finance newsletter MarketSnacks.
    • They've been running it as a two-person team since November 2011 and have never missed a day.
    • To keep it moving fast, they implemented a "one and done" rule that avoids time-wasting arguments.

    Nicolas Martell and Jack Kramer have been friends since 2007, when they were freshmen roommates in college.

    Today, they're cofounders and co-CEOs of MarketSnacks, the daily finance newsletter for millennials they created as a side job while working in banking in their early 20s — Martell at UBS, Kramer at CommerzBank AG.

    In the nearly six years since they started MarketSnacks, Martell told Business Insider, they've never missed a single day of market news, even though he — who traveled internationally for his job for four years and now spends most of the week pursuing an MBA at Wharton in Philadelphia — and Kramer —who had been working in Berlin and is now pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan — are rarely in the same time zone.

    How does their team of two spend up to three hours writing and editing 750 words every night, and never miss a business day?

    Martell calls it the "one and done" rule.

    "From a management perspective, what we really found interesting is that, teams crumble and stop functioning when they question each other and slow each other down," he said. Not every question, he explained, serves to better the product or company — some waste time arguing about bias, or doubting the person with more expertise.

    He continued: "What Jack and I do is we have a policy of 'one and done.' If one of us disagrees, we don't have an argument about it. We go with whatever the disagreer says. If Jack thinks a joke I put in isn't funny, I'm not going to argue. We're just going to take it out. If I say Jack should add a number here, he's not going to argue that. We'll put it in. And we found that lets us move really quickly on projects. Because stopping to argue about that just isn't worth the time wasted."

    As an example of their policy saving valuable time, he points to breaking news around Chipotle last year:

    "In my old job I'd be on a plane on the way down to Brazil. I would have to write MarketSnacks before the plane took off for Rio. And Jack, who worked for a German bank, he was in Berlin. And there would be a time-change issue — we had to get this done.

    "So we couldn't argue whether we were doing too many references to an avocado in a single paragraph, and we couldn't argue if it was important to include the revenue numbers and the profit numbers, because if we did, we wouldn't be able to actually finish the paragraph on Chipotle. One made the executive decision, and the other one just went with it."

    Cheddar   MarketSnacks Interview Photo 2   Friday 2.3.2017.JPGThis approach stretches beyond producing their newsletter. When an opportunity arises — for instance, their first appearance on streaming financial news network Cheddar that helped them launch into regular TV spots with brands like Nasdaq and CBS — they don't stop to argue.

    "I'm a little more risk-oriented than Jack is," Martell said. "He's a little more conservative in his approach, and that's great because there's times when I'll, for example, want to jump into something and Jack will want to take a more traditional route, and whichever one feels more strongly about it, we tend to back and go behind."

    In order for "one and done" to work, the cofounders have to keep their egos in check. Martell says that although people tend to expect serving as co-CEOs of MarketSnacks would lead to tension, it hasn't so far. He credits their ability to work together seamlessly to their friendship, and to their both having played college sports (Kramer played football, Martell played lacrosse). "I think we're both very comfortable with knowing how teams have to work when they're in either times of crisis or tensions — how you have to be accountable together," he said.

    He continued: "You need to let go of your ego. Because if you don't, your ego's going to get in the way and then you can't make the decisions and then you can't write the paragraph on Chipotle, and then MarketSnacks doesn't go out that day."

    SEE ALSO: 2 women who built a business while at Goldman Sachs and Marc Jacobs explain how corporate jobs made them better entrepreneurs

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    Ben Altman

    Ben Altman, 30, got into finance by accident.

    "I fell into investment banking," Altman told Alex Grodnik on the Wall Street Oasis podcast.

    He attended the University of Pennsylvania as a philosophy major, but transferred into the Wharton school because he wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do with his life and he felt like the school had more prestige. From there, he got a job at financial services firm Blackstone Group.

    He was toiling away his hours in a job he didn't like when he had a lightbulb moment while reading a self-help book by Tim Ferriss called "The 4-hour Workweek."

    "For the first time it made me realize that you didn't have to have a job, you didn't have to work for someone else," he said. "I'd never met any entrepreneurs before that."

    That revelation was life-changing.

    Altman, who had worked in M&A at Blackstone before moving into private equity at a firm called Hellman & Friedman, said the book put in stark terms what his life would become if he stayed in a job he didn't like.

    "Most people take their prime health years, 18-60, when they can do the most things in their life and they sacrifice them to a company so that at 60-plus years of age they can hang out at home and do nothing," he said.

    He decided to act. The day after his contract at Hellman & Friedman ended, he flew to Brazil to start work full-time on an internet advice company he had been developing in his spare time called Charisma on Command.

    Through Charisma on Command, Altman and his cofounder Charlie Houpert offer advice and teach techniques to help people learn to be more likable.

    Along with Houpert, Altman convinced some other friends that they could quit their jobs and focus full-time on the businesses they were trying to grow. They all moved into what he dubbed a six-bedroom "entrepreneur house" on a beach in Brazil.

    Altman and Houpert began to grow their business in 2012. They started by blogging and building a following, then moved onto offering coaching services. They eventually began selling their lessons via a program called Charisma University. A year ago, they started a Youtube channel which has more than one million subscribers and gets about five million views a month.

    Altman credits his happiness to realizing early on that he didn't have to work in an office his whole life. He recommends people envision their ideal life.

    "If you could wave a magic wand and your life could look like whatever you wanted and you had infinite money," what would that look like? he asked.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 best private high schools in America

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    • CBS   MarketSnacks Interview on Apple Earnings and Fitbit Wearables   Photo 2   Tuesday 8.1.2017.PNGNick Martell and Jack Kramer have been working together for nearly six years, largely remotely.
    • They are the cofounders and co-CEOs of MarketSnacks, a daily finance newsletter for millennials.
    • MarketSnacks has always been a side hustle — first while they worked in banking, now while they're in separate business schools.
    • To keep their side hustle from taking over their lives, and to keep it moving quickly and scaling, they developed a system that hinges on two rules.

    In nearly six years of writing MarketSnacks, Nick Martell and Jack Kramer have never missed a business day.

    They're cofounders and co-CEOs of the daily finance newsletter for millennials they created as a side job while working in banking in their early 20s — Martell at UBS, Kramer at CommerzBank AG.

    During that time, Martell traveled internationally for his job for four years and now spends most of the week pursuing an MBA at Wharton in Philadelphia. Kramer had been working in Berlin and now is pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan, and the two founders are rarely in the same time zone. Aside from TV appearances in New York City, they work almost entirely remotely.

    While the cofounders don't publicly share subscriber numbers, Martell says the newsletter reaches "six figures of eyeballs," and that it's been generating revenue for about three years, through syndication deals and promotions with brands such as Fidelity and Betterment.

    With a team of only two, plus an intern who runs their social media, MarketSnacks requires up to three hours a night, Martell told Business Insider. To keep it from taking over their lives, they've had to be smart. "We created a system to be as efficient as possible so that we can write 750 words a night but still have balanced lives with our day jobs and our social lives but also scale the business," he said.

    This system is based on two rules: one operational, and one managerial.

    He explained:

    1. They play to each other's strengths

    "On the operational side, we recognize that editing takes more time than writing, so we alternate who edits the content every day and we both write content every day," Martell said. "We also realized that there is power in playing to each others' strengths. When it comes to consumer goods companies like Nike, or Lululemon, or Chipotle, I tend to write about those because I know those areas well. And when it comes to industrial or energy stocks like Boeing or Exxon, Jack writes about those."

    2. They stick to the 'one and done' rule

    "What Jack and I do is we have a policy of 'one and done,'" Martell said. "If one of us disagrees, we don't have an argument about it. We go with whatever the disagreer says. If Jack thinks a joke I put in isn't funny, I'm not going to argue. We're just going to take it out. If I say Jack should add a number here, he's not going to argue that. We'll put it in. And we found that lets us move really quickly on projects. Because stopping to argue about that just isn't worth the time wasted."

    This approach stretches beyond producing their newsletter. When an opportunity arises — for instance, their first appearance on Cheddar that helped them launch into regular TV spots with brands like Nasdaq and CBS — they don't stop to argue. "I'm a little more risk-oriented than Jack is," Martell said. "He's a little more conservative in his approach, and that's great because there's times when I'll, for example, want to jump into something and Jack will want to take a more traditional route, and whichever one feels more strongly about it, we tend to back and go behind."

    Martell says that although people tend to expect serving as co-CEOs of MarketSnacks would lead to tension, it hasn't so far. He credits their ability to work together seamlessly to their friendship, and to their both having played college sports (Kramer played football, Martell played lacrosse).

    "I think we're both very comfortable with knowing how teams have to work when they're in either times of crisis or tensions — how you have to be accountable together," he said.

    SEE ALSO: 2 women who built a business while at Goldman Sachs and Marc Jacobs say a side gig made them better at their day jobs

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    NOW WATCH: Before starting her own company, this 26-year-old told Google she'll quit in 2 years before taking the job


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    Oars Alps Laura Lisowski Cox Mia Saini Duchnowski

    • Laura Lisowski Cox and Mia Saini Duchnowski are the founders of men's skincare company Oars+Alps.
    • They say developing and marketing a tangible product takes a different approach than an online or software startup.
    • They've never regretted taking their time developing a product.

    By the time they started men's skincare company Oars+Alps, Laura Lisowski Cox and Mia Saini Duchnowski had held a range of jobs between them.

    Duchnowski, who holds degrees from both MIT and Harvard Business School, began her career doing research for NASA. She then spent two years as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, and most recently was a TV reporter at Bloomberg. Cox, who holds a Masters in finance from Brandeis, spent three years as a client solutions manager at Facebook.

    But by the fall of 2016, they'd left their high-profile jobs behind to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs.

    They quickly learned that advice for entrepreneurs isn't one-size-fits-all.

    For instance, many entrepreneurs are advised to begin with a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. The term, which denotes an early release version of your product that's meant to be optimized in real time, as users adopt it, was created by Frank Robinson in 2001 and popularized by authors Steve Blank and Eric Ries in classic startup books including "The Lean Startup" and "The Startup Owners Manual."

    Duchnowski says that while that widespread advice might be applicable for people developing software or apps, when you have a tangible product like a bar of soap, "you need to put out a product that's pretty damn near perfect, and you need to put that product out in the market without spending a lot of money or wasting a lot of time," she said. "Because if you're going to iterate, you're going to iterate on that last 0.5%."

    The idea of the fast-moving startup is one perpetuated by big names such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose motto is "Move fast and break things," and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, who famously said "if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you released it too late."He later clarified on his podcast, Masters of Scale, that "if you launch so fast that it generates lawsuits, alienates users, or burns through capital without any apparent gain, you did in fact launch too soon."

    oars alps Laura Lisowski Cox Mia Saini Duchnowski 2But while Oars+Alps is a digital company, Cox pointed out, it's constrained by the traditional and relatively slow-moving manufacturing buffer of four to eight weeks.

    Bearing their need for almost-perfection in mind, the cofounders had to cover every base before it came to their initial launch to the public in October 2016. In a beta round of products, they gathered insight into how people viewed the products (turns out men didn't distinguish between organic and all-natural), how they used the products (they wash their faces in the shower, not the bath), and how much they were willing to pay. Oars+Alps products range from a bar of soap for $12 to a "gym bag friendly" three-piece kit for $54.

    Cox added that the company is so data-driven that they delayed its initial launch by a full three months "because the scent that we were originally going to market with was not a home run," she said. "So we stopped everything and we reached out to multiple other providers to test new scents, and we finally found one that just won in every single focus group. We were very nervous about that delay, but that was the right call."

    Between the $1.3 million raised from a seed round of funding in June 2017 and a friends and family round raised before launch, Oars+Alps has raised nearly $2 million for its team of five.

    "It was so scary," said Duchnowski of their first weeks as entrepreneurs. "I firmly believe that you're not going to work harder for anyone else but yourself. For us to take on this endeavor, it required us both to really focus. And we both have families and we both have kids. If I'm going to spend time away from my family, it has to be worthwhile — it has to be amazing."

    SEE ALSO: A banker-turned-CEO credits his company's success to two rules he established early on

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    • Penelope Gazin Kate Dwyer witchsy 2Witchsy cofounders Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer created a fake male cofounder to conduct business by email.
    • They noticed an enormous difference between how contractors and contacts treated him versus how they treated the women.
    • They're glad to see that the story of Keith Mann, their fictional cofounder, is bringing more attention to sexism in tech and in the workplace.

    Penelope Gazin, Kate Dwyer, and Keith Mann are the cofounders of art marketplace Witchsy.

    But Mann doesn't exist.

    Gazin and Dwyer told Fast Company's John Paul Titlow that they invented their third, male, cofounder after repeated instances of condescension with a sexist tone, like a developer who addressed an email to them starting, "Okay, girls ..."

    "It was like night and day," Dwyer told Titlow of working through Mann. "It would take me days to get a response, but Keith could not only get a response and a status update, but also be asked if he wanted anything else or if there was anything else that Keith needed help with."

    On Quartz, Dwyer told Lila MacLellan that before Mann existed, "it was very clear no one took us seriously and everybody thought we were just idiots." But when those same people received emails from Mann, Gazin told MacLellan, "they'd be like 'Okay, bro, yeah, let's brainstorm!'"

    Dwyer told MacLellan they even gave Mann a backstory:

    "He was a dude's dude, they decided, the kind who played football in college. He was devoted to his wife of five years, and he couldn't wait to be a dad. 'He was just a really good guy,' says Gazin. 'He doesn't really understand Kate and I, but he's been happy to help us with our project before we find husbands.'"

    Dwyer and Gazin's experience struggling to be taken seriously as company founders isn't as unique as you might hope. Gender bias and sexism in the business world is well-documented.

    One of the biggest stories in tech this year was the internal memo sent by Google engineer James Damore, who was fired from the company after writing that there are biological differences to blame for the lack of women in tech. Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded that the claims were "offensive and not OK," but that "people must feel free to express dissent" in a respectful way.

    And the stunning string of blows that ultimately led to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down from his post began with a blog post by former employee Susan Fowler alleging she experienced gender bias and sexual harassment at the company.

    There have been reported instances of gender bias and sexism in every industry from Hollywood to economics.

    In an email to Business Insider the day after Fast Company reported on Mann's existence, Dwyer reflected on the reaction they've gotten to the news.

    "People have been losing their minds over the fact that we just gave him the last name Mann," Dwyer said. "So masculine."

    She continued: "When people read about Keith they've been pretty upset at the idea that a fake character was taken more seriously than we were. He's being used as a tool now to help highlight how rampant sexism is in tech and the workplace in general. It's been great seeing so many people respond positively. Once again, Keith has done a great job!!"

    SEE ALSO: Facebook and Goldman alums who raised nearly $2 million for their startup say there's a problem with the go-to advice for entrepreneurs

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    • Cheddar   MarketSnacks Interview Photo 2   Friday 2.3.2017.JPGNick Martell and Jack Kramer are the cofounders and co-CEOs of MarketSnacks, a daily finance newsletter for millennials.
    • They've been running it as a side hustle, largely remotely, first while they worked in banking, now while they're in separate business schools.
    • They make a point of mentoring other entrepreneurs regularly, and they have go-to advice based on their own experience.

    Nick Martell and Jack Kramer started their company as a side hustle while they were working in banking jobs right out of college — Martell at UBS, Kramer at CommerzBank AG.

    Today, they're the cofounders and co-CEOs of MarketSnacks, a daily finance newsletter for millennials.

    While they don't publicly share subscriber numbers, Martell says the newsletter reaches "six figures of eyeballs," and that it's been generating revenue for about three years, through syndication deals and promotions with brands such as Fidelity and Betterment. The founders appear regularly on TV and online video platforms such as Cheddar, Nasdaq, and CBS.

    In a conversation with Business Insider, Martell said that he and Kramer prioritize serving as a resource for other entrepreneurs. They get on the phone with entrepreneurs seeking advice "every week or so," he said, and some of their go-to advice is based on a key component of their own business' success: their working relationship.

    "Jack and I are complementary in a really fun way," Martell said.

    That's why they advise other entrepreneurs to seek out "complementary cofounders" who have different skills and strengths.

    For instance, though they both worked in finance, Martell and Kramer's expertise lies in different areas, and they "realized that there is power in playing to each others' strengths," Martell said. "When it comes to consumer goods companies like Nike, or Lululemon, or Chipotle, I tend to write about those because I know those areas well. And when it comes to industrial or energy stocks like Boeing or Exxon, Jack writes about those."

    Also, "I'm a little more risk-oriented than Jack is — he's a little more conservative in his approach," Martell said. That's a good thing, he explained "because there's times when I'll, for example, want to jump into something and Jack will want to take a more traditional route, and whichever one kind of feels more strongly about it, we tend to back and go behind."

    He continued on to say "We always advise entrepreneurs: If they're going to start a business, having a complementary cofounder is so key because it can help you go into new areas really quickly in a really smart way."

    Over the course of their business' life, Martell spent four years traveling internationally for his job and now spends most of the week pursuing an MBA at Wharton in Philadelphia. Kramer had been working in Berlin and now is pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan, and the two founders are rarely in the same time zone. Aside from TV appearances in New York City, they work almost entirely remotely.

    Although that sounds like a challenge, they used their complementary skills to create a system "to be as efficient as possible so that we can write 750 words a night but still have balanced lives with our day jobs and our social lives, but also scale the business," Martell said.

    SEE ALSO: 2 women who built a side business while working at Goldman Sachs and Marc Jacobs share their best entrepreneurship advice

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    GettyImages 161587038It's easy to love your business when it's going well.

    But any battle-hardened entrepreneur will tell you there was a significant period of struggle before their business hit its stride and found success.

    These were often "make-or-break" moments for them: Opportunities where they could have chosen to keep hustling or quit and quietly return to a day job.

    As entrepreneurs, we all start off as optimists. You almost have to be to believe that something you thought up should have a price tag on it.

    You have to believe that despite all the risk, the chips will fall in your favor.

    But then your business hits its first speed bump. Then another. You either retain that optimism despite the struggle, or you don't.

    Here are three tips for staying optimistic when your company is struggling:

    1. Embrace the fear

    Pretending everything is fine when it's not is a guaranteed path to implosion. While you want to be careful not to wallow in self-pity, the reality is that we often invest our heart and soul into our businesses. When things don't seem to be working out, it's a deeply emotional experience to reconcile.

    I always allow a small amount of time to embrace the reality of the situation: the disappointment that my hard work is not producing the result I hoped for, and the fear that maybe it never will. Fear has the most power over us when we are doing everything we can to avoid it. For me, embracing fear drains its potency and enables me to start making the choices that will improve my situation.

    2. Shift your focus

    When your business struggles, it's easy for your focus to be overwhelmed. Suddenly, everything wrong with the business feels like a commentary on everything wrong with you. I have to remember in those moments that while I'm passionate about my business, it's not the entirety of my identity.

    It's also not 100% about me. It's easy to be self-absorbed in a crisis, but the stress of dealing with a difficult situation changes when I remember that my business serves my employees and their families just as much as me.

    The more I focus on using my business to serve those I care about, the less the struggle is about proving my self-worth with success. Instead, it is a service. And it's easier to allow a service for others to be momentarily hard. By thinking about your struggle in these terms, you turn a difficult situation into a problem to work through, instead of a circumstance you feel insecure over.

    3. Control your environment

    There are elements to your business's struggles you cannot control. In those instances, I double down on what I can control. I can't change my numbers from last month, but I can take care of myself. I can keep my mind sharp and focused. I can keep my body healthy by eating well and exercising. I can keep solid personal relationships by taking quality time out with friends and family. I know my business continuously reflects my personal life, so it will be guided by these positive influences.

    Some people confuse being optimistic with being delusional, but there is a difference between the two: One is a genuine and essential hope in a promising idea; the other is "faking it until you make it," which, well, rarely works. When applied responsibly, optimism is a powerful ally — one that will see you through until things get back on track.

    AJ Rivera is a seven-figure marketing expert, business advisor, and CEO of PT Freedom.

    SEE ALSO: 5 essential tips to sell anything to anyone, according to a 'Shark Tank' Shark

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    • oars alps Laura Lisowski Cox Mia Saini Duchnowski 3Laura Lisowski Cox and Mia Saini Duchnowski are the founders of men's skincare company Oars+Alps.
    • Oars+Alps is both of their first entrepreneurial venture, and they left full-time jobs to pursue it.
    • They advise other entrepreneurs to choose a great cofounder, and not to wait for the perfect time to start.

    The founders of Oars+Alps don't come from the world of entrepreneurship.

    Laura Lisowski Cox and Mia Saini Duchnowski built their company after careers spent in more traditional jobs: Duchnowski, who holds degrees from both MIT and Harvard Business School, began her career doing research for NASA, spent two years as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, and most recently was a TV reporter at Bloomberg. Cox, who holds a Masters in finance from Brandeis, spent three years as a client solutions manager at Facebook.

    About a year after launching their men's skincare company— and raising nearly $2 million between a pre-launch friends and family funding round and a post-launch seed round — they have some advice for other entrepreneurs.

    To start with, "Find an amazing cofounder," Duchnowski told Business Insider. She said working with Cox is one of the smartest decisions she's made. She continued: "That's important because there's so many decisions that need to be made and you need to trust that whatever they're owning, that they also are putting their heart into it."

    Duchnowski also emphasizes the importance of working with a partner who has a complementary skill set. "Sometimes when you launch a company you have too many people who are product-focused, and it's really important to have someone who has that marketing background," she said of working with Cox.

    Cox also cautions entrepreneurs not to wait for the perfect time to take the leap. "I think the best advice I ever got was that there's never going to be a good time for anything," she said. "You're never going to optimize anyone's schedule to make quitting your job easy, or having a kid, or breaking up with your boyfriend, or getting divorced, or launching a company, any of those things — there will never be a good time. You just have to do it."

    And, she added, "no one is going to believe in yourself more than you. If you have conviction in yourself, that will be more than enough. Because no one else is going to tell you that you're amazing, or that you're doing the right thing."

    SEE ALSO: Facebook and Goldman alums who raised nearly $2 million for their startup say there's a problem with the go-to advice for entrepreneurs

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    NOW WATCH: Arianna Huffington gives advice to young entrepreneurs: 'You don't have to burn out to succeed'


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    • Cheddar   MarketSnacks Interview Photo 2   Friday 2.3.2017.JPGNick Martell and Jack Kramer are the cofounders and co-CEOs of MarketSnacks, a daily finance newsletter for millennials.
    • They've been working together on their business for nearly six years, while holding day jobs and pursuing MBAs.
    • One of their company's pivotal moments happened just last year, before the the launch of Cheddar TV. 

    Nick Martell and Jack Kramer started MarketSnacks, a daily finance newsletter for millennials, about six years ago as a side-hustle.

    The cofounders and co-CEOs have never missed a business day, and they have devoted up to three hours a night to their side gig while working day jobs in finance: Martell at UBS, Kramer at CommerzBank AG, then at the nonprofit Endeavor.

    But in all that time, Martell told Business Insider, the smartest thing they ever did for their business might have been a split-second decision they made just about a year ago.

    Right before the launch of streaming financial news network Cheddar, the MarketSnacks CEOs visited its founder Jon Steinberg for a casual conversation. Since they were sitting right near the studio, Steinberg asked if they would be interested in filming a test spot as a trial.

    "We'd never done TV work, but we said yeah, we'll do it," said Martell. "We did a trial run with him without any preparation."

    It was an uncharacteristic decision, Martell said. Typically, he explained, "I'm a little more risk-oriented than Jack is — he's a little more conservative in his approach," Martell said. That's a good thing, he explained "because there's times when I'll, for example, want to jump into something and Jack will want to take a more traditional route, and whichever one kind of feels more strongly about it, we tend to back and go behind."

    But in that moment, "we both looked at each other and said, 'When else do we get an opportunity like this?' We hadn't prepared at all, but screw it, let's do it," he continued. "We know our material so well, because we both write it, that we could immediately jump into explaining what happened that day, whether it was GoPro struggling to make up market share — which was an issue at that time — or Walmart, which was just getting into commerce. We know the content well enough that we now feel comfortable doing it on any type of platform."

    Their spontaneous screen test went so well that the cofounders developed a relationship with Steinberg and Cheddar, and, along with regular appearances on the network, they've been able to leverage that experience to appear on Nasdaq and CBS.

    "When Whole Foods gets bought by Amazon, that's a millennial story at its core and you want a millennial perspective on it," Martell said. "Not the boring, Wall Street, what-were-the-earnings and how-does-this-fit-into-the-merger-and-acquisitions-news — we want to know culturally and from a business perspective how this strategically aligns and why this kind of acquisition is happening, and that's the perspective we bring."

    Neither of them are based in New York City now. Martell spends most of the week pursuing an MBA at Wharton in Philadelphia, and Kramer is pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan — but they both travel regularly to film television appearances in New York.

    "We've been able to pivot the business, not only the newsletter, into TV and online video content with incredible brands in a really exciting way," Martell said, "and it was really because we made this decision to one day take a risk and jump into trying TV content on the spot."

    SEE ALSO: A banker-turned-CEO explains how a 'one and done' rule keeps his business moving fast

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