• As I read more business books, autobiographies and research being an entrepreneur I have started to notice a common theme. It’s something I do naturally (perhaps that’s my inner entrepreneur at work) but the importance or implications have never been something I’ve particularly noticed or thought too deeply about.  However, the more I discover and the longer I travel my entrepreneurial road, the value and importance of this thing increases immensely.

    This thing is visualization.

    I have always been a big dreamer (especially day dreamer!), loved surrounding myself with imagery and making goals but I did this for fun, not because I thought it had any influence over my future.  However, I now realize that’s exactly what these things are doing; they are creating the blueprints of my future.

    How do I know this? Because the more I visualize my goals, the quicker and more of them I achieve. But it’s not just me, read any business book or autobiography and they all say the same thing ‘I always

    Read More »from 5 Key Steps To Visualizing Your Way To Your Dreams
  • For Laura Lucas, “buy American” isn’t just the movement of the moment. It’s a value that was instilled by her father, who spent his career in manufacturing. “From a young age, I heard at home all the time that we have to make things, we need manufacturing in America,” Lucas says.

    As an adult shopper, Lucas has always had an eye out for Made in the USA products, but is dismayed by how rare they are in stores. So, she left her job as a worldwide Kindle product manager at Amazon to start her own business that would help people find and buy American-made.

    Lucas recently launched Footvote.com, an online platform featuring a directory of nationally known brands and handcrafted products made by American manufacturers. The company, based in Seattle, where Lucas raised a seed round of funding from the local angel investors, also provides information and insights on American manufacturing and companies.

    To be sure, several online directories already point shoppers to U.S. manufacturers. Those

    Read More »from Footvote: A directory to support shoppers who want to buy American-made
  • Allie Siarto, Loudpixel’s Co-Founder answers questions via live chat

    Here are the highlights of the live chat we held with Allie Siarto








    At age 24, Allie Siarto co-founded Loudpixel, a social media research company that has redefined how companies approach market research. Rather than relying on expensive, time-consuming surveys or focus groups, Loudpixel's technology and team help companies better understand their customers and market by analyzing social media conversations that are already taking place each day. Loudpixel has worked with global Fortune 500 companies and agencies across the technology, restaurant, finance, auto, retail, consumer goods and healthcare sectors. Allie's work has been published in Forbes, PC World, The Washington Post, Upstart Business Journal, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, MSN, VentureBeat and Under 30 CEO.

    #StartupLab is a free virtual mentorship program created by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young entrepreneurs. #StartupLab

    Read More »from Allie Siarto, Loudpixel’s Co-Founder answers questions via live chat
  • Announcing a live chat with Loudpixel Co-Founder Allie Siarto

    Allie SiartoLoudpixel Co-Founder Allie Siarto will answer questions at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT) Thursday, October 31st.


    At age 24, Allie Siarto co-founded Loudpixel, a social media research company that has redefined how companies approach market research. Rather than relying on expensive, time-consuming surveys or focus groups, Loudpixel's technology and team help companies better understand their customers and market by analyzing social media conversations that are already taking place each day. Loudpixel has worked with global Fortune 500 companies and agencies across the technology, restaurant, finance, auto, retail, consumer goods and healthcare sectors. Allie's work has been published in Forbes, PC World, The Washington Post, Upstart Business Journal, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, MSN, VentureBeat and Under 30 CEO.

    #StartupLab is a free virtual mentorship program created by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young

    Read More »from Announcing a live chat with Loudpixel Co-Founder Allie Siarto
  • A recent survey found that 58% of shoppers said they planned to shop more on Cyber Monday than Black Friday this year. As consumers continue to shift their holiday shopping from the Friday to the Monday after Thanksgiving, it is obviously extremely important for small businesses to strategize how they are going to capitalize on this potential influx of buy-happy consumers.  Now is the time for small online businesses to prepare. We at Blue Fountain Media have 5 strategies small businesses can take to take advantage of the holiday shopping opportunity..

    1. Ramp up your email acquisition NOW

    Email is one of the most effective methods for alerting your audience about your holiday sale. In order to maximize the potential of email marketing leading up to Cyber Monday or Black Friday, small business marketers should update their email signup forms and provide extra incentive for users to submit their email address. One of the best ways to do this is to simply change the copy around the signup

    Read More »from 5 Ways To Boost Holiday Sales This Season
  • Bill seeks to kill the (patent) trolls that plague tech startups

    For technology startups, there is a worse breed of troll than the one that posts nasty comments at the end of Yahoo articles. “Patent trolls”—people and organizations that make their livelihood collecting licensing fees or settlements by filing patent infringement lawsuits—are considered increasingly problematic to business and innovation in the U.S.

    As the Washington Post noted recently, “When you're targeted by a patent troll, the rational thing to do is to capitulate. Defending a patent infringement lawsuit can cost millions of dollars, and trolls carefully calibrate their settlement demands so that it will always cost more to fight than to settle.”

    “Any company that uses technology in its products or services today faces a steadily increasing threat of patent litigation,” according to RPX Corporation. The company, which attempts to reduce patent headaches for its clients, says legal threats cost operating companies some $11 billion per year. The fact that some patent-troll defendants

    Read More »from Bill seeks to kill the (patent) trolls that plague tech startups
  • Empact: Spreading the culture of entrepreneurship to small communities

    Michael SimmonsMichael Simmons started a web development company at age 16 and earned $40,000 working 10 hours a week during his senior year of high school. He had watched his mother, a government employee, earn two percent raises annually. When he realized how much control self-employment gave him over his income, he says, “I was amazed no one else in my school had started a business.”

    Even once he arrived at New York University, he says, he was disappointed not to find many other entrepreneurial-minded people. The one he met during freshman orientation, Sheena Lindahl, became his business partner and wife.

    He published the bestselling Student Success Manifesto during college, and with Lindahl co-founded Empact, an organization that inspires other young people to explore entrepreneurship and strives to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship in struggling communities.

    Business Week named her a top-25 entrepreneur under age 25 in 2006, and he, now 31, has won entrepreneur-of-the-year awards from the

    Read More »from Empact: Spreading the culture of entrepreneurship to small communities
  • Inspiration

    As an inbound marketer, I know two topics that go hand-in-hand: Content creation and inspiration. Trouble is, it's difficult to do the former right without the latter. So, when you work for a content creation machine like HubSpot, you have to work hard to find inspiration to produce high-quality content.

    Aside from inspiration, writers have to cultivate top-notch content creation habits and make sure they have all the resources they need at their fingertips. Without inspiration, though, these traits and resources are useless.

    With 90% of marketing companies using content marketing these days, you have to be able to find inspiration to develop excellent content. After you’ve hit all your usual places to become inspired and realize it's just not gonna happen, don't panic. There are many places you can go to find what you need to generate thoughtful, five-star content.

    14 Places That Can Inspire Great Content Creation

    1) Quora

    Quora’s mission statement? “Share and grow the world’s knowledge.”

    Read More »from 14 Inspirational Resources to Lift You Out of Your Content Rut
  • When you first launch your company, you have to micromanage to some extent – there’s little or no team infrastructure and, since you’re building a company from the ground up, every decision builds and shapes the future of the company. As you scale your business, however, there comes a time when micromanaging actually damages your organization. It also makes running and working in your business a lot less fun.

    Assuming you have the right people on the bus in the first place, real growth comes in realizing when to nitpick and when to simply let go and delegate. I believe a dedicated individual delivers far more value performing in an environment of freedom than when someone is continually looking over her/his shoulder.  So as my company has grown, I’ve had to learn how to be an efficient boss who lets his employees take the reins and, thus, grow personally and professionally, leading to happier employees and an overall enhanced team performance.

    In my opinion, the most effective management

    Read More »from 4 Strategies to Boost Employee Productivity Without Micromanaging
  • Here are the highlights of the live chat we held with Ryan Stoner








    Ryan Stoner is the marketing & business development arm for Switchcam. As a serial entrepreneur and experienced strategist (also previously the founder of MoPix), he brings extensive knowledge across media & technology to the Switchcam table. He spends his playtime exploring his passion for scuba diving and cheering on Indiana basketball. Go Hoosiers!

    #StartupLab is a free virtual mentorship program created by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young entrepreneurs. #StartupLab takes YEC's mission to help more people start successful businesses to the next level by offering millions of entrepreneurs direct access to YEC members through interactive video chats, email lessons and a library of how-to articles, videos and eBooks. Whether you're just starting up, a current business owner, or you run an organization that supports entrepreneurs, sign

    Read More »from Ryan Stoner, Switchcam’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Sales & Marketing answers questions via live chat

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