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The latest news on Entrepreneurship from Business Insider

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    Chobani Inc. founder Hamdi Ulukaya poses for a portrait in the company headquarters in New York, December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonYou may not know his name but Andy Bechtolsheim is one of the giants of American technology. Born in post-World War II Germany, he’s always been a natural inventor and entrepreneur. “I spent a lot of time building things," he’s said of his rural boyhood. Unlike most kids, he was taking apart and reassembling radios at the age of four and coming up with his own version of an Intel controller at 16. 

    As an immigrant to America, Bechtolsheim helped found the legendary SUN Microsystems and was the second investor in a little startup called Google. (He didn’t come up with the name, but told Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page they needed to have a name.) Today, in his early 60s, Bechtolsheim continues to be one of the top angel investors in the country, seeding other entrepreneurs in a virtuous economic cycle. 

    It’s worth keeping Bechtolsheim in mind as the US engages in another discussion about how to fix what’s almost universally described as “our broken immigration system.” Leaving aside the specifics of proposals being raised by the White House and in Congress to address both legal and illegal immigration, we should try to make sure whatever policy changes emerge promote US-based entrepreneurs like Bechtolsheim and those who depend on their innovation and drive. 

    It’s also worth noting that many of this country’s and the world’s top entrepreneurs have immigrant backgrounds. Immigrants to the US - including Bechtolsheim - are frequent winners of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award. Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who built the yogurt giant Chobani, is one well-known winner and both he and Bechtolsheim were named US national winners during the years they competed. 

    Many other Entrepreneurs Of The Year are immigrants who have settled in other countries — offering a reminder that America isn’t the only nation competing for global talent. For instance, the most recent World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner, representing Canada, is Murad Al-Katib, is a first-generation immigrant Canadian who left his civil service job in Saskatchewan in 2004 to build a seed business built around high-protein crops like lentils.Today, his company boasts a market capitalization of over $2 billion. 

    Overall, immigrants constitute 15% of the US workforce, but a quarter of the workforce’s entrepreneurs, and some 40% of new firms have an immigrant affiliated with their start. According to the Kauffman Foundation, immigrants were almost twice as likely to start businesses in 2014 as native-born Americans. Against this backdrop, this is the critical question we need to ask: Since immigrants play such an outsized role in US business and job creation, shouldn’t we be finding a way to encourage even more of them to come to our shores, stay and build their companies?

    And immigrants aren’t just building small companies. In 2016, 40.2% of Fortune 500 firms had at least one founder who either immigrated to the US or was the child of immigrants. Those firms generated more than $4.8 trillion in revenue. A study from the National Foundation for American Policy indicated immigrants have started more than half of America’s startup companies valued at $1 billion or more and are key members of management or product development teams in more than 70% of these companies. A report from the Partnership for a New American Economy found that immigrants start more than 25% of all businesses in seven of eight sectors of the economy that the US government expects to grow the fastest over the next decade.

    FILE PHOTO: President Donald Trump departs St. John's Episcopal Church ahead of First Lady Melania Trump after they attended services for a national Whatever immigration plan Democrats and Republicans eventually settle upon — whether it’s a points-based system like the one the White House is proposing (that’s used in many countries) or something else — we need to keep in mind that we’re not the only country seeking to attract the world’s best and brightest. Canada is revamping its visa system to attract more entrepreneurs. The Mexican state of Jalisco has been luring Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The “Start-Up Chile” program pays overseas entrepreneurs to come visit for six months.

    My own experience of working with entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years is that they have it in their DNA. If they don’t get to ply their skills here in America, the first choice for most of them, they’ll do it somewhere else. Take Dinesh Patel, born in Zambia, and an undergraduate in India, who came to the US for graduate school. He then founded TheraTech Inc., a biotechnology company that he took public in Utah and later sold to Watson Industries. Since then he’s been one of the most prominent angel investors in biotech. I have no doubt that if his path to America had been blocked, he’d have built a great company in another country.

    We face this competition at a time when American entrepreneurship is going through a rough patch. New business creation fell by a third during the Great Recession and has been slow to recover. The World Bank ranks the US only 49th in the ease of starting new businesses. Our statutory corporate tax rate is the highest in the world,and our regulatory climate isn’t always friendly to entrepreneurs. Other countries have taken advantage of our economic mistakes.

    But I worry about the cultural climate, too. We’ll all be the poorer if would-be American entrepreneurs see the US as hostile to foreigners who, these days, enjoy a world of choices. Ugly rallies like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer don’t help and neither does any rhetoric that demonizes immigrants. In Virginia, for instance, immigrants comprise 12% of the state’s population but 20% of its entrepreneurs.

    America has been struggling for decades to develop an immigration system that meets our economic needs. It’s a difficult debate but a healthy one. Let’s make sure that whatever policy we settle upon, the tone of the debate remains welcoming to immigrants so the world’s great innovators both want to come here and have a path to do so. If we don’t preserve our reputation as the land of opportunity for all, the founders of the next Google may just plant roots beyond our shores, taking all their inventions, jobs and spinoffs with them.

    David Jolley, EY Americas Growth Markets Leader

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A top financial adviser says the notion of retirement is gone — here's what he thinks people will do instead


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    debra bednar clark 3

    The smartest thing Debra Bednar-Clark has done for her career wasn't an internship, or a meeting, or an elevator pitch.

    It was redefining success.

    Before starting her own company, career and leadership coaching firm DB+co, Bednar-Clark was the global head of strategy and growth at Facebook, and spent time as Microsoft's director of US market strategy and engagement.

    "When I look back," she told Business Insider, "I think for a lot of my career I was in a tug of war between what I was supposed to do and who I actually am or aspire to be. Early in my career I was one of few female coders, and I felt compelled to really shut down the different sides of myself to fit in and earn the respect of my male colleagues. But what I realized is that when we're separating our personal self from our professional self, we're often leaving the best parts of who we are at the door when we walk into the office every day."

    Plus, she continued, "this fragmentation is self-limiting because you're ultimately just showing a one-dimensional version of yourself rather than all of the things that make you unique. It's also incredibly exhausting because you're consciously delivering different versions of yourself at any given time."

    So, she said, "I redefined what success means to me. For me, success without fulfillment isn't success."

    For Bednar-Clark, fulfillment meant being in a role where she could "bring all the different sides of who I am to work." Those sides included her love of launching "disruptive businesses," her enjoyment of coaching and mentoring, and her fascination with how fashion and style can make someone feel.

    "Because that didn't exist on paper, it was a position I needed to create for myself," she said.

    Today she offers career and style coaching through DB+co, and she helps her clients define success for themselves.

    "Anyone that I work with is a multifaceted individual, and I think it's the combination of all the different facets that differentiates your value," she said. "What I've witnessed in myself, and in the leaders I admire, is that there's so much strength and a positive snowball effect you get when you're embracing everything that makes you unique so you can bring your whole authentic self to work."

    She continued: "When you bring your whole self forward you're naturally going to be more confident, which naturally increases your confidence as a leader, which then unlocks all these new opportunities potentially for you and those around you."

    SEE ALSO: How to know it's time to quit your job, according to an exec who left Facebook to strike out on her own

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A leadership expert reveals why the best businesses are usually formed out of personal experience


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    We interviewed fashion designer Christian Siriano in November 2016. Siriano shares simple, but effective, advice for young entrepreneurs.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published November 29, 2016.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    jonah stillman

    Jonah Stillman calls himself a "Gen Z guru."

    Along with his father, the 18-year-old co-authored a book, "Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation is Transforming the Workplace," and cofounded a speaking business, also called Gen Z Guru.

    And as the Star Tribune reported, Stillman was recently hired as a consultant to the Minnesota Vikings, to help them understand and connect with Generation Z.

    Marketers generally define Gen Z as anyone born 1995 or later; they're the newest members of the workforce.

    When I spoke to Stillman by phone, I asked him if he felt intimidated by the prospect of working with so many people older and more experienced than he is.

    "I'm going to be honest," he said. "I don't get intimidated easily. I've been trained well; I've had a lot of working experience; and I see this as another opportunity to help better myself and the Vikings."

    By training and working experience, he's referring to the speaking business he started with his father and the consulting work he's done for clients other than the Vikings.

    Stillman's postponing college for now: "I'm just going to play it by ear," he said.

    He spoke about his own deferred college plans in the context of Gen Z's overall attitude toward higher education. "College used to be a place where you go to discover yourself," he said. "Now a lot of Gen Z-ers are only going to college if they know what they want to do."

    That's partly a result of financial practicality, Stillman said. "We think it's financially irresponsible to bounce around college for a year and not declare a major."

    Indeed, a survey from the College Savings Foundation, spotlighted in the Chicago Tribune, found that 79% of high-school students surveyed said cost is a factor in choosing a college. And 39% said high costs encouraged them to enroll in state schools, community colleges, as well as vocational and career schools.

    Stillman also cited stats that suggest Gen Z is more entrepreneurial than millennials were at the same age — an observation that's backed up by a 2015 Goldman Sachs report.

     

    SEE ALSO: 'We are very different than millennials,' says 18-year-old 'Gen Z guru' hired as a consultant for the Minnesota Vikings

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    NOW WATCH: This teenager got accepted into all 8 Ivy League schools — here are her secrets to success


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    Patrick McGinnis.JPG

    If you ask many entrepreneurs, striking out on your own is all-consuming.

    It's living on ramen. It's having six roommates in two bedrooms. It's getting down to your last $10 before catching a break.

    But that's not exactly necessary, says Patrick McGinnis.

    On an episode of Farnoosh Torabi's podcast "So Money," McGinnis, a venture capitalist and investor, says this vision of entrepreneurship excludes a lot of people — and it's not necessary.

    The idea that "unless you are living on the side of the road on the box, eating ramen for every meal and suffering, you're not an entrepreneur," he told Torabi, is a "very dated way of thinking about entrepreneurship."

    He continued: "It's a very exclusive way that it basically excludes a lot of people who would be great entrepreneurs but maybe aren't in the life circumstances to become entrepreneurs today."

    McGinnis is the author of "The 10% Entrepreneur: Living Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job," in which he explains that you don't have to quit your job to be an entrepreneur.

    A 10% entrepreneur, he writes, invests just 10% of their time and resources into a new venture, while holding on to their full-time job. This way, he says, they have the best of both worlds, rather than throwing all their time and money into something uncertain. He's for entrepreneurship, but he doesn't recommend going all-in right off the bat.

    McGinnis himself still holds a day job. "I have invested in over 20 different ventures over the last six years," he told Torabi. "I have a day job, I'm not looking to leave that day job, but I've used entrepreneurial activities investing, advising in startups in order to create a diversified portfolio of ownership positions and exciting companies that teach me new things to get me upside."

    "Maybe I'll become a full time entrepreneur someday," he continued, "but I haven't found that thing yet that really has convinced me that I want to do that."

    Listen to the full episode of So Money »

    SEE ALSO: Why you shouldn't quit your job to become a full-time entrepreneur

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran reveals what separates successful entrepreneurs from those that fail


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    Patrick McGinnis.JPG

    On an episode of Farnoosh Torabi's podcast "So Money," Patrick McGinnis, a venture capitalist and investor, says the 2008 financial crisis changed his ideas of what it means to be secure in your job, and in your finances.

    At the time, he was working on Wall Street, at AIG.

    He told Torabi:

    "Not only did it hit me sort of from a career perspective and you know, I sort of felt like my résumé was blown up and that I had lost a lot of money, but it hit me emotionally and I felt very — I felt like the world, I always thought I kind of had control, I was like, I went to Harvard Business School, what could go wrong, right? My career will always be fine. Even if everything else goes downhill.

    "I realized that I had very little control and it was very frightening to me. I actually became very — I would say, very depressed and nervous for a while but over time, what I found was that taking control and building something for myself actually was the best way to feel a lot better about the world around me."

    That was the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey, which led to his book, "The 10% Entrepreneur: Living Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job." In it, he explains that you don't have to quit your job to be an entrepreneur — even he still holds a day job.

    His explanation of diversifying his career connects to related area of his life he purposely diversifies post-crisis: his finances.

    McGinnis explained that he's originally from Maine, "a place where people always lived within their means," and he practices that himself. "I have a spreadsheet that's updated on a monthly basis of how much money I have, what's invested where, what do I expect to look like and I only invest and I only spend what I think is a reasonable amount, keeping lots of cushion," he told Torabi. 

    He continued: "That way I know that I will never get into a situation where I'm in trouble. In fact, had I not done that in the 2008 financial crisis, I was working on Wall Street. My company blew up, I lost my bonus, it was disaster. Had I not lived by that mantra, I would have been in big trouble."

    His stock in AIG plummeted, he had no diversification in his finances, and the reason he stayed afloat was because he had cash in the bank from living below his means. What he learned from that experience, he said — just like with career prospects — was that "you must diversify."

    Listen to the full episode of So Money »

    SEE ALSO: Why you shouldn't quit your job to become a full-time entrepreneur

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran reveals what separates successful entrepreneurs from those that fail


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    Patrick McGinnis.JPG

    If an investor wants to give you money, you take it, right?

    Not so fast, says Patrick McGinnis.

    On an episode of Farnoosh Torabi's podcast "So Money," McGinnis, a venture capitalist who's invested in more than 20 companies over the past six years, says it's smarter to wait as long as you can before taking the outstretched dollars.

    It's because, he explained, fundraising isn't about cash — it's about control.

    He credits his friend Beth Ferreira, former COO of Etsy and current managing partner at WME Venture Partners, for pointing that out.

    "It's so true," he said. He continued:

    "The minute you raise money from somebody else, you now have new people in your company, they may have rights that they can use to affect how you run your business and you have a boss. That can be a very good thing because it can bring discipline to the company, it can bring new ideas and the capital can be invested into growth. But oftentimes, if you're not quite ready, if you don't have quite the right partner, it can create a lot of headaches for you as an entrepreneur."

    McGinnis is the author of "The 10% Entrepreneur: Living Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job," in which he explains that you don't have to quit your job to be an entrepreneur.

    A 10% entrepreneur, he writes, invests just 10% of their time and resources into a new venture, while holding on to their full-time job. This way, he says, they have the best of both worlds, rather than throwing all their time and money into something uncertain. He's for entrepreneurship, but he doesn't recommend going all-in right off the bat.

    He said on "So Money": "I will tell you with complete honesty, as much as I love many of my colleagues in the industry, that I encourage people to wait as long as they can to raise money."

    Listen to the full episode of So Money »

    SEE ALSO: Why you shouldn't quit your job to become a full-time entrepreneur

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran reveals what separates successful entrepreneurs from those that fail


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    hugh hefner

    In 1952, Hugh Hefner was a 26-year-old copywriter at Esquire magazine with an entrepreneurial dream. 

    Hefner, who died on Wednesday at the age of 91, famously founded Playboy magazine in 1953 after Esquire denied him a $5 raise to his $60-a-week salary.

    As The Wrap notes, Hefner quit Esquire in 1952, took out a mortgage of $600, and raised $8,000 from 45 investors, including $1,000 from his mother, to set the foundation for Playboy. 

    The first issue of Playboy Magazine hit newsstands in 1953. 

    It featured nude photographs of actress Marilyn Monroe, which were taken from a 1949 calendar shoot, according to The Wrap.

    marilyn monroe playboyThe first issue was an instant hit, selling more than 50,000 copies and laying the groundwork for an iconic brand that would go on to make millions over the decades. 

    In the early 1970s, Playboy magazine hit its peak, with sales of seven million copies for a single issue. In 1999, Hefner's 70% ownership of Playboy stock was valued as high as $399 million, according to The Telegraph.

    Though sales of the magazine dwindled in recent decades, the Playboy brand is still worth millions. Market researcher Wealth-X told Business Insider that Hefner was worth at least $110 million at the time of his death, with roughly $45 million in liquid assets. 

    SEE ALSO: Here's who will likely inherit Hugh Hefner's millions

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says companies need to take stances on controversial issues


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    Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been working steadily to close the pay gap at his company. Following is a transcript of the video.

    The pay gap between men and women is not going away. In the US, women earn 21% less than men on average. But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is shelling out millions to try to change that.

    In 2015, his company did a salary study, and it turned out they needed to make some changes. So they spent $3M to level the playing field. A year later, they put salaries under the microscope again and found they had to spend another $3M to close additional pay gaps.

    Now Benioff has pledged to evaluate salaries on a regular basis. For this and more, he was named a "Global Champion of Women in Business."

    To be fair, he only came in second, and Deloitte's Rana Ghandour Salhab grabbed the top spot. People like Salhab and Benioff are working hard to put more women in executive roles.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    red jacket

    Rohan Oza was dubbed Hollywood's "brandfather" by The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, but his high-profile marketing deals with celebrities have only escalated since then. 

    After cutting his teeth scaling up brands like Sprite and Powerade for Coca-Cola in the early 2000s, Oza made a name for himself when he left the company and matched rapper 50 Cent with Vitamin Water for an endorsement deal. The drink saw a prodigious spike in sales as a result, and in 2007, Oza's former employer, Coca-Cola, acquired Vitamin Water from Glacéau for $4.2 billion.

    Oza found similar success in 2016 when he brought on Justin Timberlake as an investor and partner in the sparkling, antioxidant drink Bai. Dr Pepper Snapple Group subsequently purchased Bai Brands for $1.7 billion.

    Now, Oza is bringing his brand innovation and knowledge to the stage of ABC's "Shark Tank." He stars as a guest "shark" in the season premiere of the investment reality show, which airs Sunday at 8pm EST. 

    Business Insider talked to Oza about his celebrity deals, the shifting necessity of business school, and his desire to "help create the first billion dollar brand" on "Shark Tank." 

    John Lynch: Walk me through your experience on "Shark Tank." With your specific expertise, what were you able to bring to the table, or dais, as it were?

    rohan oza shark tank abcRohan Oza: Look, I love "Shark Tank." The experience was amazing. I feel that America is one of the greatest countries in the world to be an entrepreneur, and what "Shark Tank" does is it taps into and fuels that entrepreneurial spirit. So, I loved the energy that came from funding people's dreams and building iconic brands. The difference that I could bring was that my expertise in food and beverage doesn't exist currently on the panel. And that's a trillion dollar industry that's getting disrupted because most of the things on the shelves today are bad for you, and millennials are all looking for products that are better for you. So the opportunity to disrupt the aisles, both in stores and online, in food and beverage is huge, and I want to help create the first billion dollar brand on "Shark Tank."

    Lynch: Your most recent success was the billion-dollar sale of Bai. How did you get Justin Timberlake involved in that drink, and how crucial was he in the sale of it?

    Oza: My business partner Ben and I were huge fans of Justin. When we met with him, he completely understood the vision of the brand, the mission, and actually became an owner in the company. He wasn't an endorser. He was an owner. He fought like an owner. He provided ideas and creativity like an owner, and because he believed in the mission of the company, he became a partner in the company. And that to me is the key: partnering with smart celebrities who want to be an owner in unique and differentiated companies.

    Lynch:You set the blueprint for this, in a way, by bringing 50 Cent to Vitamin Water. What made that the right connection at that time?

    50 centOza: At the time, Vitamin Water was a great product. It had real levels of vitamins, half the sugar of sodas and juices, cool packaging. But it was very medicinal. And people were like, "Woah, vitamins and water. That can't taste that great." So we needed to create some disruption. 50 was one of the most iconic musicians at the time, and he was very health-conscious and fitness-centric. I had a candid conversation where I said, "I don't have the money to pay you," and he said, "Don't worry. I'll take it in equity because I believe in the brand, and I believe in myself." And that became the construct of the equity model that everybody wants to do today.

    Lynch: To what extent did your experience working at Coke fuel your interest in these healthier alternative beverages?

    Oza: My experience at Coca-Cola was great, in that it helped me learn how to build brands. But a lot of the brands that I was on at Coca-Cola were already established, so I was growing established brands. I learned that Coca-Cola can take brands that are really good and scale them, but they have a tough time creating brands from scratch. So I basically carved out a living working with founders to build the brands of tomorrow, that ultimately, the Cokes, and the Pepsi's, and the General Mills of the world end up buying, because it's very difficult for them to create it internally. 

    Lynch: Generally speaking, how do you decide which celebrities to pursue for the brands you're involved with?

    Oza: A lot of the time, I brainstorm with my team which celebrities have the best DNA fit to your brand. And then, we make sure the celebrities are big fans of the brand. So with Jennifer Aniston [for her endorsement deal with Smartwater], it actually happened during March Madness. I brought all of the women in the office together because they are generally more insightful than the guys, and we did a top 16 women in entertainment, and we did like a March Madness bracketology. Jennifer Aniston ending up winning it because Jennifer had the best DNA fit from a purity, from an aesthetic, from a fitness angle — all the elements that Smartwater matched. Oh, and by the way, she was a huge fan of the brand. And that deal has now been going on for close to 13 years, and she looks pretty much the same today in the ads as she did 13 years ago. She clearly is not aging. It must be the water.

    Lynch: On "Shark Tank," what does it take to convince you to invest in one of these up-and-coming products?

    Oza: The interesting thing about "Shark Tank" is that out of the tank, we're all friends. All of the sharks are good friends, very supportive. They gave me great coaching. But the minute we're in the seats, or in the tank, the gloves or, in this case, the mouth guards come off, and the teeth come out. It's to each their own, and I realized that you have to fight hard to win the brands that you believe in. And I was looking for founders who had unique, differentiated ideas, and passion and conviction to go win with their ideas, because I'm giving them my hard-earned money. 

    Lynch: As a fellow University of Michigan alum, I have to ask about your experience going to business school there. Do you still see business school as a necessary path for the prospective students of your field?

    Oza: I'm glad that I went to Michigan because Michigan's network is unbelievable. Someone told me the other day, "You guys from Michigan are like a cult." And it is kind of like that. There's no other university that could call someone a "Michigan Man." An "Ohio State Man" doesn't even roll off the tongue. So the network that I built and the opportunities I got from Michigan were amazing. I think that people should go to business school if it's the right fit for them. I.e., I want a change of career. I want to expand my network. I want to better understand some of the fundamentals as it relates to building and managing businesses. I think business school is very valuable for those elements, and if that is what you need to do, then you should go to business school. I don't think it's a pre-requisite these days the way it was when I went, to necessarily get into companies, but it can definitely be a value-added tool to help you be stronger when you do get into companies. 

    Lynch: Since you were in business school, what has shifted in the world that makes it less necessary, in a way?

    Oza: I think the ability to create startups, whether it's in tech or food and beverage or CPG, and people are doing it at a younger age, is more prominent now than ever before. And so smart, talented people who have never had MBAs have created companies, and I've partnered with many of those founders. So I think that you don't necessarily have to have that MBA, but business schools are starting to adapt. When Stephen Ross gave Michigan $100 million [to further fund the Ross Business School named after him], they've used that to significantly improve their facilities and their teaching approach. So I think that business schools will adapt to the tools that you need today to build brands in the modern era.

    Lynch: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs who are following in your footsteps specifically?

    Oza: Well, a few of them. One is, "be your brand." So don't market it — live your brand. The second is, "have an original idea," because original ideas always rise to the top. And the third would be, "bring passion and energy to all those around you," because that's infectious, and that's what helps create an amazing culture in a company. 

    Lynch: What are the next steps for you at this point? Are there any brands you're eyeing that you can tell me about?

    Oza: Yeah, I have a few that I'm very excited about. At CAVU, the fund that I co-created, we've made 16 investments in the last two years. It's kind of crazy, but we believe in all our brands because they're all disrupting the environment, in terms of "better-for-you" products. The ones that I'm very excited about: One Bar, it's a protein bar that's 20 grams of protein and one gram of sugar, and it almost tastes too good to be true; WTRMLN WTR, which has twice the electrolytes of Gatorade, but it's all-natural and tastes amazing; and Chef's Cut, it's the fastest growing beef jerky in the country, it's 30 grams of protein in a bag, and it literally tastes like steak in a bag.

    Lynch: Between your experience on "Shark Tank" and in your recent investments, where do you see this generation's brand mindset shifting toward? 

    Oza: I believe that the millennial audience is, now more than ever, looking for "better-for-you" products for their generation and are rejecting the products of the past. The high sugar, high carb, high fructose corn syrup, highly processed, low-nutrient-value products are being rejected in favor of the brands of tomorrow. And that's what I think makes the entrepreneurial angle in food and beverage very exciting, and it's why on "Shark Tank," I love bidding on some of these really innovative ideas in the food and beverage space, because these entrepreneurs are truly disruptive. And this year, more seven-figure deals were done this year than in any other season prior, because the scale of the brands and the scale of the founders is getting bigger and bigger on "Shark Tank," and making it really exciting. 

    SEE ALSO: The best advice 'Shark Tank' investors have given entrepreneurs

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    NOW WATCH: We played the highly-anticipated new Super Mario game and were blown away


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    sad angry scared frustrated fan supporter green

    • Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist and the author of "Entrepreneurial You."
    • She says entrepreneurs often make the mistake of pursuing an idea for a product without first checking if customers would use it.
    • The key is to listen to what people say they need, and to find out what you're uniquely capable of providing for them.

    It's hard to admit you're wrong — especially when the thing you're supposedly wrong about is something you've spent time, money, and energy on. How delicious it would be if you ultimately left all the naysayers dumbfounded when you actually perfected that coffee-infused-pancake recipe you've been working on since high school.

    But here's the thing. Are you currently pursuing this project because you can't bear to kill your darlings? Or because you've carefully deduced a gap in the market that you are uniquely capable of filling?

    No need to answer right away. But it's something every aspiring entrepreneur should be thinking about, all the time.

    So says Dorie Clark, a marketing and strategy consultant, an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and the author of "Entrepreneurial You."

    On an episode of the Art of Charm podcast, Clark suggested that entrepreneurs can easily make the mistake of throwing time and money at a seemingly brilliant idea without listening to what their intended customers actually want.

    Clark shared a story that illustrates this lesson, drawn from "Entrepreneurial You." Bozi Dar (a pseudonym) was an executive at a Fortune 500 biotech company. On the side, he experimented with creating apps. Clark writes in the book:

    "Dar's first product was an app that helped people change their mood by looking at their personal photos paired with music. It was a cool idea, but he's convinced the reason it failed is that 'I started my app not really testing whether there is a problem [that customers wanted solved], not testing what is my audience, not testing whether anyone was even searching for a solution. I just fell in love with my idea, started putting money and time into it, and it never worked.'"

    On the Art of Charm podcast, Clark said:

    "As he was smarting from the wounds of losing all this money and having his entrepreneurial venture not really succeed, he started paying attention to what people actually kept asking about. And in his case, he had been promoted a lot at work, for whatever reason, his magic combination of skills. He kept getting promotions like clockwork, just moving up in the organization.

    "And people started seeking him out and saying, 'Hey, what are you doing? This is really cool. You're doing something. I want to learn it.' … He decided instead to do an online course, but it was one that was focused specifically on this question: How do you get promoted? How do you get more successful at your job and move up the ladder?

    "When he created that, it was almost an immediate fit because that was something that people already wanted it from him. He knew that there was a market, and so he's been able to be hugely successful."

    Like Clark, life and business coach Tony Robbins advises entrepreneurs not to fall in love with their product idea, as Business Insider's Richard Feloni reported. Too many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of ignoring changes in their demand from their customer base because they're so caught up in their first product, Robbins told Feloni.

    Importantly, Dar never quit his day job at the biotech firm.

    Dar's experience sounds somewhat similar to design thinking, a five-step process that's typically used by engineers, but can also be used to solve problems in your personal life. The final two steps in design thinking are "prototype" and "test and get feedback from others."

    In Dar's case, he prototyped — built the mood-changing app — and got feedback from others — this is not something useful right now. Fortunately, he listened to that feedback and cut his losses before it was too late (though he still lost some money).

    The lesson here is not to be afraid to change course. Sometimes the best ideas are right there in front of us — and because of pride or stubbornness, we're oblivious to them. Save yourself a headache down the road, and don't make that mistake.

    The full episode is below and you can subscribe here

    SEE ALSO: How to become known as the best in your field

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran reveals what separates successful entrepreneurs from those that fail


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    Defy Ventures Inc 3700

    Coss Marte is 31 years old. For the last three years he's been the CEO of ConBody, a prison-style bootcamp that has reached 22 countries and tens of thousands of customers. His story of success is similar to that of many CEOs, except for one key detail.

    Marte didn't start his business in grad school. He started it in prison.

    Marte is a graduate of Defy Ventures, a nonprofit that connects prisoners with professional mentors to help them start businesses that can thrive once they get released back into society, in a six-month program known as "CEO of Your New Life."

    On a recent Tuesday at Wallkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York, the program was about to reach its natural end for 25 "entrepreneurs-in-training," or EITs. (Defy avoids using the term "inmate.") With dreams of becoming the next Coss Marte, the EITs pitched 50 executives on their ideas before a graduation ceremony honoring their achievement.

    Business Insider ventured inside Wallkill to see firsthand how the "Shark Tank"-style competition is granting second chances.

    SEE ALSO: 32-year-old investor with ties to Elon Musk wants to upend America with a crazy utopian plan for the future

    Wallkill is a minimum security prison, but it still prohibits most electronic devices. Defy's events took place free from cellphones and other buzzing and beeping distractions.



    The day's events began with Defy flipping the usual script. The welcome tunnel, typically formed by inmates, was instead made up of executives. Inmates got high-fives and cheers as Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" boomed through the speakers.



    The two groups immediately started networking with an icebreaker game.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    laptop roof

    If you're looking for a business idea, here's some reassuring advice: It doesn't have to be revolutionary.

    You don't have to think up the next Amazon or Paypal or LinkedIn. In fact, the best place to start is with the things you already know.

    That's according to GrowthLab and I Will Teach You to Be Rich CEO Ramit Sethi. "I know it's difficult to imagine that you might have profitable skills already — but you do," he writes on his site.

    In his words, here are the four questions you'll want to ask yourself to isolate said profitable skills:

    1. What do you already pay for? We already pay people to do a lot of different things. Can you turn one of those things into your own online business? Examples: Clean your home, walk your pet, cook your meals, etc.
    2. What skills do you have? Now, what do you know — and know well? These are the skills you have that you're great at — and people want to pay you to teach them. Examples: Fluency in a foreign language, programming knowledge, cooking skills, etc.
    3. What do your friends say you're great at? I love this question. Not only can it be a nice little ego boost — but it can also be incredibly revealing. Examples: Workout routines, relationship advice, great fashion sense, etc.
    4. What do you do on a Saturday morning? What do you do on a Saturday morning before everyone else is awake? This can be incredibly revealing to what you're passionate about and what you like to spend your time on. Examples: Browsing fashion websites, working on your car, reading fitness subreddits, etc.

    "Spend about 10 – 20 minutes now writing down five answers for each of the four questions above," he writes. "Once you're done, congratulations — you now have 20 potential business ideas that you can grow into a flourishing side hustle."

    In a previous interview with Business Insider, Sethi said that "What if I just don't have any ideas for a business?" is the most common question he gets from aspiring entrepreneurs, and that it's flawed.

    "What's the assumption behind it?" he asked. "The assumption is 'I'm waiting for a magical idea to fall down from the sky.' And that's not how it works. If you want to start a business, you find an idea. And it's not the perfect idea; it's one of many."

    Once you start generating potential ideas, then you can test them to see if they're any good, and if they'll make any money. But, Sethi says, just because you haven't been struck with inspiration doesn't mean you can't start a business.

    SEE ALSO: If you've ever dreamed of starting a business, don't fall for the worst excuse in the book

    Join the conversation about this story »

    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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    unnamed 55

    • UBS' Lori Feinsilver co-created Project Entrepreneur to help women start high-growth, high-impact companies. 
    • She told Business Insider women need to have more confidence in the companies they start and stand for something meaningful. 


    When you think of the largest companies in the world — Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. — they were all founded by men. 

    Lori Feinsilver, UBS' Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility in the Americas, wants to change that. 

    Feinsilver launched Project Entrepreneur, a venture competition program, with Rent the Runway founders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss in 2015 to provide women entrepreneurs the tools and resources to create high-growth, high impact companies. UBS, the $3 trillion money manager, sponsors the program. 

    The program culminates with its annual Project Entrepreneur Intensive in New York City. The venture competition draws interest from thousands of hopeful female entrepreneurs from over a hundred cities. 200 of those entrepreneurs take part in a pitch competition in April.  

    Business Insider met up with Feinsilver during a Project Entrepreneur event at the New York Stock Exchange to talk about women entrepreneurship. She told us the women who stand out the most from the program have an unbridled confidence in themselves and what they are doing. Female entrepreneurs, she says, need to have that level of confidence to succeed. 

    "Three years since starting this program and meeting literally 1,500 entrepreneurs, I would love for more women to have the confidence to go after what they want to do," she said.

    She said that confidence will help aspiring entrepreneurs get over the numerous speed-bumps and uncertain moments that come along with owning and operating a business.

    "People think they need to see the exact path to take the leap," she said. "But they don't need to."

    You have to stand for something as well, Feinsilver says:

    "The cofounders at Rent the Runway realized early on that they had to stand for something. It can't just be about 'we are selling something at a cheap price.' There has to be a mission tied to it. I think that is true of all companies."

    Winners of Project Entrepreneur's pitch competition receive a $10,000 grant and take part in a five-week program based in Rent the Runway's offices with access to mentors, including executives from UBS.

    Finalists from the 2016 program have raised $9 million in seed and pre-seed funding.  

    SEE ALSO: The head of HR at a top Wall Street bank shares the secrets to getting ahead in finance

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Zach Woods Silicon Valley

    • Many associate startup founders with young 20-somethings.
    • A presentation from researchers at The National Bureau of Economic Research found the average exit age of successful silicon valley startup founders was 47.


    When you think of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who sell their startup or take it public, you'd be forgiven if you thought they were typically in their 30s, or even their 20s.

    The average exit age of successful Silicon Valley startup founders between 2007 and 2014 was actually 47. That's according to to a post from July on Digitopoly by entrepreneurship professor Joshua Gans citing a paper from the NBER Summer Institute.

    Gans also quoted investor Paul Graham in a 2013 interview with The New York Times, who said, "The cutoff in investors' heads is 32 … after 32 they tend to be a little skeptical."

    With that mindset, investors could be missing out on golden opportunities. Indeed, the bright star of youth is certainly alluring, but nothing beats experience.

    Gans says the finding is from basic data results and the research is still developing, but it's still worth the consideration of Silicon Valley investors who tend to gravitate toward younger entrepreneurs.

    SEE ALSO: The $13.7 billion Whole Foods buy has turned the whole world against Amazon — and we'll see the sparks fly next year

    DON'T MISS: Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life

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    NOW WATCH: The secret to Steve Jobs' and Elon Musk's success, according to a former Apple and Tesla executive


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    john collison stripe

    • John Collison, the cofounder and president of Stripe, is the world's youngest self-made billionaire at 27.
    • He started Stripe, designed to transform the way people make online payments, with his older brother when he was just 19.
    • Originally from a small town in Ireland, he came to the US to attend Harvard — until he dropped out to focus on Stripe in Silicon Valley.


    John Collison founded the tech company Stripe in 2010, when he was only 19.

    Now Collison, 27, can call himself the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, with a net worth totaling $1.1 billion after Stripe's $9 billion valuation in 2016. The company was designed to transform the way websites accept online payments, and it's a favorite of huge companies like Lyft and Facebook.

    Collison started the company with his older brother Patrick, Stripe's CEO. Though the siblings have struck Silicon Valley gold, they haven't forgotten their humble roots in small-town Ireland.

    Today, Collison enjoys flying planes, running, and hiking with members of the Stripe team.

    Read on to learn more about the world's youngest self-made billionaire.

    SEE ALSO: 9 wildly successful people who were bullied as kids

    DON'T MISS: 15 books Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk think everyone should read

    John was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1990, and his family eventually settled in the small village of Dromineer.

    Source: Bloomberg



    Collison, a brilliant student, finished with the highest possible marks on his Leaving Certificate, the equivalent of final exams in the US.

    Source: Independent



    Collison was accepted into Harvard before even taking his final exams, which he aced anyway.

    Source: Independent



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    man working cafe coffee computer laptop phone multitasking career

    • Being your own boss can be a huge burden because you are responsible for absolutely everything.
    • You need to master certain skills that help you run your own business.
    • You'll need to know business development, marketing, and accounting. 
    • Data science and engineering are also incredibly useful tools when running your own company. 


    The big buzz around millennials is how entrepreneurial they are. Whether or not they really are more inventive than previous generations can be debated, but it sure is easier now than for previous generations.

    We have so many tools at our disposal that can make the first step into being a real-deal entrepreneur easier than ever. You can get millions of eyes on your product through Instagram. You can get help for your startup in a Facebook group. You can manufacture a product of your own design without becoming a mechanical expert. You can get an app built for you, and launch it for a few bucks.

    There are plenty of fake metrics to distract us, probably more than ever in the history of business, but the barriers to entry are so low that if you can keep your focus, you'll be fine.

    Even with all of these advantages, being your own boss isn't for everyone. You're responsible for literally everything. The burden of the entire world can feel like it's completely on your shoulders, and it sucks when things aren't going great.

    If you don't want to start your own business, that's fine. There's so much learning and experience to be had in the modern workforce; so much fun while making some money; so many connections to make. Go find an interesting startup with a problem in your field that you find challenging and exciting.

    In my years of working with startups, I've found that there are two types of founders — craftsmen and experts.

    Craftsmen are the best at a specific thing and are trying to stretch their talents into a product or platform that can be utilized by everyone. Experts know an industry or problem inside and out. The problem they are solving will best be solved by them, so they are going to do what they can to solve it for the entire world. Neither of these founders can do it on their own. There are plenty of special skills that they lack to bring their dream to fruition.

    1. Business development

    Ahh, business development. A skill for networking and meeting people that not every entrepreneur possesses. Startups need business development for drumming up new business. Finding supply or demand and striking partnerships that can make a massive impact. If you find it extremely easy to meet new people and figure out how to work together for everyone's benefit, there's a startup that would love to utilize your skills.

    2. Marketing

    Every startup needs to be seen. Their unique voice needs to be heard above the noise of everyone else in their industry. That only happens with good marketing. If you're amazing at promoting things, either with ads, social media or something else, a startup somewhere desperately needs your skills.

    3. Accounting

    If you went to school for finance and are finding out that traditional jobs are boring, you have three choices — start your own accounting firm, abandon finance or find a startup.  

    Most early stage startups are lacking a CFO, or Chief Financial Officer. Most don't have any finance resources at all. All of the bookkeeping is outsourced. All of the budgeting is done by the founders on the limited time they have. If you can handle finances, some startup out there needs your help.

    4. Data science

    The biggest field in the business world will soon be data science. There is incredible growth in available data to companies big and small, and the barrier for entry to true data science is getting lower every year. Fortune 1000 companies aren't the only ones that can use big data to their advantage anymore.

    If you love finding value in huge sets of data, and if you love finding ways to optimize everything around you, data science may be for you. And every startup in the world needs you.

    5. Engineering and development

    This has been true since the technical revolution took a firm grasp of the world: If you're building something, you need someone to actually build it. Engineers and developers are available in droves, so some are finding it hard to find a solid entry level position. There is one and only one solution to that, and that is to become the best at something.

    Find a niche in development that you like to do, and become really good at it. Become the best. Then, find a startup that has this problem and present yourself and your skills as the solution. If you deliver, they'll love you forever.

    Whatever your skill set or desire is, I can guarantee that a startup somewhere desperately needs it. Go find them. Get a job with them. Solve that problem and become the best in the world at solving that problem.

    Then, you can either leverage your world-class expertise to become a consultant, start your own business dealing with that problem in a unique way, or go find another problem to solve. And in the process, you just might be part of a winning team that ends up making you a few million bucks in the process.

    SEE ALSO: What to say in an interview if you were fired from your last job

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    man happy work

    • It took entrepreneur Jonathan Goodman many years to realize overworking wasn't working for him.

    • In order to live a more balanced life, he had to cut back on his work hours and shift his entrepreneurial thinking.

    • He developed several "cognitive filters" in order to establish better decision-making.



    I'm an entrepreneur with a few profitable online businesses in the fitness industry. I also work on a strict nine-to-five schedule to ensure that I spend plenty of time with my family. Considering that many of us work 80-hour weeks to avoid the restraints of the regular 40-hour work weeks, I know this may sound blasphemous.

    It took me a long time to realize that "hustling" every day didn't get me to where I wanted to be any faster. So, I stopped the hustle, prioritized the most important areas of work and spent my spare time on things that make me happy. The result? More success in business and a higher quality of life.

    Let me go back a little. Years ago, I was a full-time personal trainer who had built a nice training business for himself. If a client ever canceled, I'd send a few texts and emails, and within moments the spot would be filled. I could charge $97 per hour, and still, clients were knocking down my door. Not only that, I was earning a commission from referring my overload of clients to other trainers and enjoying a small salary from managing the staff of trainers at Body & Soul Fitness, a boutique training studio in Toronto.

    It was every personal trainer's dream, and I thought, at the time, that it was mine also.

    I was young and felt invincible, as cash seemed to flow like a never-ending chocolate fountain. Secretly, I was physically exhausted and spiritually broken. Emotional bankruptcy for a fat bank account — what a trade-off.

    Looking back now, it's not hard to see why. For years, I had hustled 14-hour days, nearly every day, to train and attract clients. There was no time for anything else. The friends I talked to were my fellow trainers and clients. Girlfriend? Ha, not a chance. The thought was that once I'd gotten my business together — once I made some unspecified amount of money— things would be better. If I work hard now, no matter how smart, things would automatically right themselves, and I'd be a happy dude and everything would be perfect.

    I wanted a family and knew that I didn't want to be "that" dad who was never around. The friend who couldn't make it out to a long-time friend's charity run. The husband who couldn't come home in time to sit on the couch with a good book, legs entangled with his significant other in their own quaint but endearing embrace.

    That wasn't the life I wanted to lead. I had decided that, and I would not return to that loveless, friendless, life-less life, no matter how much money it gave me. Without knowing it, I dove deep into entrepreneurship back in 2009, before entrepreneurship was cool, and formed what would one day become the one of the largest collaborative blogs in the world for personal trainers, theptdc.com — but let's not get ahead of ourselves. It was an inauspicious start.

    As entrepreneurs with so many hats to wear and fires to put out, it's all too easy to get pulled in multiple directions and lose sight of what's truly important and what's not. It took me too long to figure that out, but despite the throes of my initial struggles, I am now able to strike the right balance that allows me to optimize my business and maximize time with my family. It starts and ends with the most important skill any entrepreneur can acquire: better decision-making.

    To help me make better decisions how to spend my time, I developed a number of "cognitive filters." These filters are objective questions that I ask myself to help guide me whenever I am presented with a new demand on my time, energy and money. These filters help me say yes or, more importantly, become confident in saying no.

    Hopefully, these filters will help you cut distractions from your life, too.

    SEE ALSO: A Google exec who's only in the office from 9 to 5:30 shares the routine that keeps him from becoming a workaholic

    Filter 1: 'Will this truly impact my business, personal life or society?'

    I say no to almost all speaking gigs even if they are willing to pay me many thousands of dollars. The money won't impact my business, it'll hurt my personal life, and me speaking at another entrepreneur or fitness event won't do anything for the greater good.

    On a similar note, I'm happy to take an afternoon to speak to a local college or Skype in to a university class.



    Filter 2: 'Am I acting emotionally or irrationally right now?'

    I won't ever say yes to anything in the moment. No matter what, I take a step back, count to 10 and ask myself honestly this question. Through this lens, I'm able to remove myself from the situation briefly, so that I can better view it as an outsider looking in and assess more logically.



    Filter 3: 'Will this change anything that I do?'

    We have too much data and too many stats, and they all paralyze us.

    When contemplating acquiring more data, ask yourself whether the desired results will change anything you do. But, beware: over-testing simply leads to procrastination and begets inaction. If you're new to business, you don't need the distraction that data provide. You need to spend your time building a better product, improving your service and getting better at whatever it is that you do.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    RumbleMonkey Jacob Rapoport

    • Former VMware CEO Paul Maritz likes to make angel investments in companies that he understands. He doesn't play video games and never considered backing an eSports startup.
    • But when one of his former employees pitched an idea for a player-to-player wagering platform, he was intrigued.
    • And when Maritz saw people literally lining up around the block to wager on a game, he opened his wallet wide.


    As the ex-CEO of VMware, Paul Maritz is a well-known name in enterprise software . But he's the first to admit he knows nothing about video games, much less the hyper-competitive world of eSports. He's not even a little bit of a gamer.

    That's why even he was surprised when Maritz become the key angel investor for RumbleMonkey, a year-old eSports platform that launched in March. It lets gamers play head-t0-head games for small wagers. Maritz described his stake as a "Series A." The total investment was in the "very low millions," he says.

    Maritz was a key executive during Microsoft's early days, before he was poached to become CEO of VMware. Later, Maritz was tapped to be the CEO of Pivotal, a VMware spinoff. He retired as Pivotal CEO in 2015, but stayed on as executive chairman. In his semi-retired life, he's become an angel investor in a variety of companies.

    But eSports is way outside his expertise, he tells Business Insider.

    "[RumbleMonkey CEO] Jacob [Rapoport] has taken me in a direction I never expected to go. Other investments I have are much more in my background in enterprise software. Investing in a company like RumbleMonkey is something I never thought I'd do," Maritz says.

    A real world test, not a slide deck

    Maritz first met RumbleMonkey CEO Rapoport back in the late 1990's, when he worked for Maritz at Microsoft. Rapoport has come to Maritz with startup pitches several times before. What lured Maritz to say "yes" this time was when Rapoport convinced Maritz to come with him to the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX).

    Martiz had never heard of PAX — a major gaming convention, held regularly in cities all over the world, especially known for hosting massive tournaments. 

    "About 20,000 people show up to each of those conferences," says Maritz. "They are enormous. On one night they have to rent out Symphony Hall in Seattle to watch people playing video games."

    Pivotal Paul MaritzRapoport used the opportunity to tell Maritz about the money in professional eSports these days. The industry generated about $696 million in 2017 in revenue, according to some market research.

    Rapoport wanted to bring the excitement of playing video games for a real cash prize to the average gamer. "The equivalent of people who go out to a golf match, put money into the kitty and play for the kitty," Maritz says.

    So he built RumbleMonkey to be a platform that handles tiny wagers, verifies who won, and helps gamers find other players of similar ability to play and bet against.

    But the real selling point for Maritz was when RumbleMonkey tested his idea at PAX with a pro gamer. Any gamer could challenge the pro to a match for a $5 wager. If they won, they won the money. If they lost, the money would be donated to charity. 800 people lined up to play against the pro, "with lines around the block," Maritz recalls. 

    A light bulb went off that this was a potentially huge market. He opened his wallet and joined the board. His gamble on this company is proving solid, he says, because about 15,000 applied to be part of the beta program. RumbleMonkey launched in March with just one game, the mega-popular virtual card game "Hearthstone."

    "It is the mirror image of the sports world that's growing up in cyberspace," Maritz says. "It's a new opportunity for me to learn about a world that is emerging very rapidly."

    All in all, Maritz has a half-dozen angel investments, including a scheduling software company called BoldIQ and an aircraft company in his home country of South Africa. That last one is close to his interests — he may not play video games, but he's a seasoned pilot in real life. 

    SEE ALSO: This ex-NSA hacker is hunting white supremacists and hate groups lurking on Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    fiverr mike zima

    • Mike Zima always dreamed of moving from the US to Europe.
    • To supplement his household income during a potential move, he started digital consulting on Fiverr, a platform for freelance and remote work.
    • Today, he lives in Mallorca, Spain; owns his own digital media business; and does all of his work remotely.


    In 2014, Mike Zima and his wife Irena were vacationing in the Bahamas.

    "We were floating like ducks in the warm water, and Chicago was an ice palace we didn't want to return to," he told Business Insider. "We wanted to be happy when we come home. To be fair, Chicago has good deep dish pizza, but we weren't happy coming home when we could have a better life."

    Zima, now 30, and Irena had always known they wanted to move to Europe, and when they returned home, he started seriously looking into how they could make that happen.

    "The typical transition is like, 'Ok, we're going to move, I'm going to find a job, everything will be all right,'" he said. "But that's almost working against the grain, because relocating to another country is very difficult."

    Zima started experimenting with Fiverr, a site that lets people pay others for tasks outside their expertise starting at $5 each.

    "I knew I would need income to supplement our lifestyle, because in Europe you have to take a pay cut with a traditional job," he said.

    Zima's day job was in digital marketing, so he used his experience to start consulting in a similar vein. Over the next few years, he gathered expertise in Google Analytics to enhance his side gig, and soon, his web consulting started picking up.

    In 2015, his income from Fiverr "went from $50 a month to a couple hundred a week," he said. "I started getting good reviews, and that's when I had the day job and the side hustle side by side."

    "All of 2016 was me doing the side hustle on my lunch breaks," he continued. "On my way to work and on my way home — almost every waking moment was going into this."

    That was the year he and Irena bid Chicago goodbye and headed for Spain. Now, after a stint in Barcelona, he lives in Mallorca, the stunning Mediterranean resort island that hosts the Spanish royal family on their annual summer holiday.

    He supports himself through his own company, data analytics and social media agency Zima Media, which operates through the Fiverr Pro platform with cofounder Damien Bouvier, who is based in London. In 2017, he earned six figures.

    mike zima fiverr barcelona.JPG

    Because he makes his own schedule, Zima is able to prioritize himself over his work. He generally works about 60 hours a week, and right now he's in the process of getting a Spanish driver's license. Irena also works on Fiverr, doing photo retouching and helping Zima Media with administrative work and design.

    "Mallorca is fantastic," he said. "It's almost a fairy tale."

    For people who have similar dreams of creating remote work that lets them live anywhere in the world, Zima has some advice:

    "I got really good at one thing," he said of mastering Google Analytics, "and then that just percolated to all of my other experiences. I took things that were a part of my day job, which I was very experienced at, and meshed it and overlapped it to make a more compelling offer."

    He continued: "If you're going to start a side hustle, it has to be about either learning a skill you never had the chance to pick up on your own, or exploring something that makes you happy."

    SEE ALSO: This woman quit her job, paid her debts, and bought a house thanks to a side job that earns $9,000 a month

    Join the conversation about this story »

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