Profit Minded
  • 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
  • If you’ve ever watched Peyton Manning play, you’ve noticed it. Hurrying his offense to the line, he scans the field. His mind and mouth are racing, processing and relaying bits of information - the down, field position, his offensive personnel, the defensive formation, whether or not a play worked before, the conditions, crowd noise and the price of hotdogs and beer. All in the 40-60 seconds between snaps.  During the play itself, Manning quickly progresses through various passing options before executing – quickly, decisively and (often) flawlessly – amid a tangle of helmets and 250-pound defensive ends trying to kill him.

    Thinking fast.

    This season’s stunning statistics have the football world asking: what makes Manning so special? Most NFL quarterbacks have a strong arm, quick feet and top-level athletic talent. And while Manning’s preparation routine is legendary, he’s not the only one studying game film. It’s obvious that he’s smart, but something else must be happening for him to outperform his

    Read More »from Fluid Intelligence: What Peyton Manning Can Teach Us About Startup Success
  • 306 entrepreneurs, all 35-and-under, head to the U.N this week

    A platform for crowdfunding your medical expenses, a healthy foods vending machine company, and a no-contract wireless phone company approaching $100 million in revenues are among the more than 306 entrepreneurial ventures that will be celebrated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City this week. The third annual Empact Showcase, October 24-25, is the brainchild of 30-year-old entrepreneurs Michael Simmons and Sheena Lindahl who call the event “the largest showcase of the best companies founded by young entrepreneurs.”

    To apply to be featured in the showcase, entrepreneurs must be age 35 or under, with a business that generates revenues of at least $100,000. Simmons says the average annual revenues of companies featured this year are $4.5 million. The event is mainly about bringing young entrepreneurs together to network, share challenges, and “serve as consultants and champions for each other’s growth,” but it will also honor the top 100 business founders in the room.

    The

    Read More »from 306 entrepreneurs, all 35-and-under, head to the U.N this week
  • Data shows that the future of the startup ecosystem is bright

    “It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur with a software company.” That’s according to Mark McCaffrey, whose company PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report today revealing that venture capitalists’ investments in software companies in the third quarter of 2013 exceeded $3 billion for the first time in 12 years.

    In addition, the fact that more than half of the quarter’s deals came from early and seed stage deals prompted McCaffrey to state, “There’s credible reason to be optimistic about the future of innovation and the vibrancy of the startup ecosystem.”

    All told, VCs invested $7.8 billion in 1,005 deals in the third quarter of 2013, representing a 12 percent increase in dollars invested and a 5 percent increase in the number of deals over the last quarter, according to the MoneyTree Report from PwC and the National Venture Capital Association, which is based on data provided by Thomson Reuters. McCaffrey predicts that at the current pace of investing, “total venture capital

    Read More »from Data shows that the future of the startup ecosystem is bright
  • Lauryn BallesterosMarketing is not for the faint of heart. Ridden with twists, turns, vulnerability and emotional roller coasters - it’s inherently about trying things that may or may not work.

    It’s no wonder that when the opportunity arrives to be different, it feels safer - and if we’re totally honest, easier, to follow the crowd.

    But following the crowd blindly is a horrible marketing strategy (if not a destined-for-failure life strategy, too).

    So - what is the solution for small business owners to market themselves like a pro (without breaking the bank)?

    Below are three ways you can begin to stand out online and position yourself as a respected leader in your space.

    #1 Be vocal.

    Your cheapest and most compelling marketing strategy is to be willing to talk/do/say what other industry leaders are too afraid of to do or say themselves. The world is over saturated with people promoting outdated opinions, safe ideas and boring design all because it won’t rock the boat.

    But for those of you willing to call it

    Read More »from Three Clever Strategies to Market Your Online Business
  • Fundable: A website that generates $1 million a week in startup funding

    Uncharted Play, developer of the Soccket, raised $500,000 on Fundable

    While crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo were transforming the way artists, dancers, filmmakers, game and app developers, and other creative types get project funding, Eric Corl saw a need for a similar platform that could help everyday small businesses raise capital.

    He’d already had experience at a company that connects entrepreneurs with investors online: as an Ohio State University freshman in 2004, Corl had served on the founding team at Startups.co.

    Corl’s idea eight years later was that, similar to the way projects on Kickstarter and other popular platforms reward funders with branded t-shirts, coffee mugs, and cameos in films and books, businesses could raise money by taking pre-orders for products in development. He would provide the platform for offering pre-orders, as well as for conducting equity crowdfunding with accredited investors (individuals with an annual income of $200,000 or a net worth of $1 million). Businesses would offer shares of company stock

    Read More »from Fundable: A website that generates $1 million a week in startup funding
  • Backblaze: Backing up should not be hard to do

    Gleb Budman is one of those techie types who is religious about backing up his computers. So, a few years ago, when he found out how his girlfriend was backing up the gigabytes worth of photos that she stored on her laptop, he was dismayed. “She had a COB flash key,” Budman says. “I said, ‘that’s only 1 gig. There’s no way all your stuff fits on it, you’re probably not backing up to it daily, and you keep it in your laptop bag, so your backup drive would go with the laptop if it were stolen’.”

    It might seem obvious, but most of us are doing even less to protect our data than the woman who became Budman’s wife. Many people he encounters are uncertain whether their data is backed up or not. “There are a lot of things out there that seem like they’re maybe taking care of it,” Budman says. A reporter he spoke to, for instance, had a vague notion that her iMac was automatically backing itself up to iCloud for free. He set her straight: iCloud’s free storage limit is 5 gigs, and it only

    Read More »from Backblaze: Backing up should not be hard to do
  • Memo to garage inventors who have spent years pitching their brilliant idea but can’t find a retailer willing to put their product on the shelves: pay attention to Eduardo (Eddie) De Arkos and Clark Whitehead, a couple of twenty-something college dropouts from Sonoma County, Calif.

    In 2012, the childhood friends decided to launch a watersports business making colorful pool-toyish inflatable tubes that lock together like jigsaw-puzzle pieces. Within weeks of filing for a utility patent for their unusual invention, which lets groups of friends easily hitch themselves together so they can float rivers and lakes en masse, the pair got a chance to pitch their idea to Big 5 Sporting Goods, one of America’s top sporting goods chains.

    Less than 15 minutes after detailing their product for a Big 5 buyer in Los Angeles, Whitehead and De Arkos were celebrating their first order: a 3,200 unit deal that validated their gamble to start their own company with $6,500 in life savings.

    Whitehead, 23, and

    Read More »from Art of the Pitch: The young entrepreneurs behind Fluzzle interlocking floaties on closing
  • Angie’s (List) lessons for building a great team

    Had her co-founder not noticed her strengths when she was just 22, Angie Hicks might not be the multimillionaire she is today at age 40. Hicks was just out of college when venture capitalist Bill Oesterle offered $50,000 to get her to move from Indianapolis to Columbus, Ohio, and work for a year on his idea to create a neighborhood publication that aggregated reviews of local plumbers, electricians, landscapers and other small service businesses.

    Hicks had interned in Indianapolis for Bill Oesterle the year before she graduated from DePauw. She impressed him as an intern, not just because she was smart, but because, in his words, “She got things done.” He says there wasn’t a job he gave her that she didn’t give it her all – whether it was low level or high. The next year, he had moved to Columbus, Ohio and ran into trouble finding a local HVAC guy and looked around for a service he’d used in Indianapolis. That service didn’t exist in Columbus, and he thought it could work there just as

    Read More »from Angie’s (List) lessons for building a great team

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Profit Minded is the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor blog that looks at ideas, trends, commerce, and noteworthy developments that can help small business owners develop and grow their organizations.

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