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Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

As an entrepreneur, the hardest thing to be is patient.

One of my favorite bands the Doors sum it up in “When the Music’s Over” with the famous quote:

“We Want the World and We Want it Now”

This one statement is all we think about and what drives us, but with every overnight success there are hundreds of companies we never heard of until year 5, 10, or more. This is actually more often the fact that not.

I was reminded of the need for patience and passion to create something great this last week as I made a new, incredibly amazing friend, Linden Wolbert. Linden is one of two real live professional mermaids in the world. She has had ups and downs and left a successful career to start her company Mermaids in Motion and pursue her passion for the sea and helping kids.

It hasn’t been easy, and as we know as entrepreneurs, you have to love what you are doing to keep going many times. Well as a spark of inspiration for all of us, she has been recognized and rewarded for her hard work and passion this evening on ABC 20/20′s Super Humans.

Just watch the video and you will be inspired. This is the recognition we all shoot for and what drives us to get up each day and keep going!

Congrats Linden and keep swimming. Your “Shell Phone” as you love to call it is going to blow up :)

Real Live Mermaid Linden Wolbert on ABC 20/20 Superhumans

Real Live Mermaid Linden Wolbert on ABC 20/20 Superhumans

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This title of this post is the first Google search people make when they come across our daily deal software product Deal Current.

I love the fact that Groupon, Living Social, and the hundred other daily deal sites are starting to pop up. From a business stand point the market is definitely being flooded, but I personally love it because Groupon has sparked entrepreneurship. It is obvious that most people are copying Groupon, but people are capitalizing on a new business model. This is pure capitalism. Some will succeed and many will fail, but the best practices will be defined through this process.

As a company we are focused on serving one market niche with our daily deal product Deal Current. As a result, we turn away some incoming leads, but I wanted to share my knowledge with people or companies looking to start a daily deal program.

First! – Running a daily deal site is much harder than most entrepreneurs realize. The software and website are the easy part. The operations, systems, and brand are the most important.

Second, here is a list of questions and things you need to think about when deciding if you should start a daily deal site or if you are interviewing a daily deal software provider.

What is your distribution or marketing plan? The number one thing once you have a brand is distribution. How many emails do you have? What partnerships can you put in place? Do you have a marketing budget?

What is your daily deal brand? Are you going to center your site around a niche? Are you going to tie into local city culture? Think hard on this. It will define your future.

Are you going to build or license software? We license our software. This is great for media partners and large organizations who want to plug a program into their existing organization. If you are an entrepreneur, it means you don’t own the proprietary platform. So you should probably invest 10-15k into your own software. This takes more time and commitment, but entrepreneurship is not easy.

If you are working with a software provider, what other services and support do they provide? Here is what we provide to clients as a reference of services for you to ask about when you talk to vendors.

  • Technology, management center, and reporting
  • Design support (paid)
  • Sales training and sales collateral
  • Merchant agreements
  • Customer support
  • Merchant payment and accounting
  • Credit card processing
  • Writers
  • Market research

Lastly, what research have you done? We researched 50+ competitors in 66 markets and interviewed over 100 merchants who ran a daily deal with various sites to develop our daily deal software. To run an effective program and be successful you need to invest time and money in research. Do you have this commitment and patience?  In a very competitive market, knowledge is key, so do your research.

Daily Deal Software Design

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This video motivates me every time!

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Our team has been working diligently the last few months to role out our second private label product Deal Current.

Deal Current is a 100% turn-key, private label daily deal software solution for media partners.

We have spent 6 months researching 50+ competitors in 66 markets to combine the best practices.

Read more about Deal Current and we appreciate your feedback.

Daily Deal Software, Daily Deal Solution, Private Label Daily Deal Software, Deal Current

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I met with an amazing company in San Diego last Friday that has an amazing mission, Patnerships with Industry.

Here is what their website says they can do:

PWI provides job training, placement, and ongoing support services for adults with developmental disabilities to work in the community. In collaboration with outstanding partnerships with over 350 employers, PWI creates employment opportunities for individuals and meets employers’ labor needs. Founded in 1985, PWI serves over 650 individuals daily.

After meeting with them, here is what they can do for your business:

PWI gives developmentally challenged adults jobs by providing a very cost-effective outsourcing solution for San Diego businesses who have busy work, repetitive project work, or bulk packaging needs. For example Cox Cable use them to clean and repackage remotes. A car company uses PWI to put plastic packaging on a rubber shock absorber.

PWI has project managers that monitor the job, a great assembly room, insurance, and they manage all the payroll for the staff. Its a win/win for San Diego companies.

So if you are San Diego company, contact PWI, if you need:

  • A thousand products put in packaging
  • Thousands of envelopes stuffed an mailed
  • Staff for a repetitive job that needs quality control

Its a great solution and a great benefit to the community!

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I wanted to share the link  for the new release of Angel and Airwaves album Love and their short film fittingly with the same title Love.

Their new album Love is released on the timely Valentines Day weekend and I’m looking forward to listening.

Angels went the route of a free release with a tip/donation jar. I love this route and its been proven to work by bands like Radio Head in the past. I also believe this is the new route of music. Bands will work with a label for a few years, gain popularity, hone their skills, and then go independent. Its awesome.

You can download the album exclusively at Fuel.TV

The trailer for their short film Love can be seen at their community Modlife.

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The new year is off to a great start and I wanted to share my thoughts on a simple but very important topic – Naming.

I know there are tons of topics out there on naming a new product, service, or company. Even so, I wanted to share how we do it. So far its worked well and made it easy to start creating value in our brands from day one.

  1. Use easy to understand words
  2. Use real words (Online thesaurus is great for name generation)
  3. Limit the name to one or two words, two gives you the capability to have a descriptor (Adjective + Noun).
  4. Use a name that gives customers some sense of what your company does
  5. Check if the url is available or available for purchase on GoDaddy.com
  6. Check the US Patent and Trademark database to see if the name is available for trademark
  7. Once you have a list of names that pass the 6 steps above, pick the name you see the ability to build a brand around

If you find a name and the URL is available and its not trademarked, the last question to ask yourself should be “Is the name limiting?”. We made the mistake of naming our apparel line “Collar Free”. It was great for the t-shirts we started with, but no one could see us as being more in the future.

As we evolved as a company, we named our contest software platform “Artistic Hub” and it has been a good fit. We help people engage with companies they love through the use of design, photography, and media.

Its not overly complicated, but we find having a simple checklist when picking a name is very important. It helps us pick a name quickly and move on to the branding and idea execution stage faster. I believe a name is important, but nothing is more important than a good revenue model.

Here is another great article on the topic from Smashing Magazine – “Effective Strategy for Choosing the Right Domain Names”

On another note, we launched a new version of Artistic Hub on Friday. It more accurately shows off what we do and the clients that benefit from our contest platform. Let us know what you think.

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I just saw this video on the blog of Tristan Walker who handles biz dev for Foursquare.

I was researching my Monday blog, but once I saw this I thought it was perfect.

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I have been to two great events this past week that I highly recommend to entrepreneurs in San Diego. I usually try to keep a balance by working, exercising, and relaxing so I typically don’t make it to a lot of groups, but these two were worth the time.

The first is the Social Media Breakfast held monthly. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The group meets monthly at Milano’s coffee in Mission Valley. The structure consisted of a meet and greet, opening discussions about social media news, then a local business spoke about their use of social media, and then to close out the group opened up so people could share challenges they had with social media.

The speaker today was the founders of Carbonita Detailing. The two guys who founded this green car detailing company launched two months ago gave a great speech about their use of Twitter. They have gone from door knocking landing 3 jobs to using Twitter to land 100 jobs so far in the month of January. Great work by two guys who had never used Twitter before. They also have a great story and are passionate about what they are doing.

A couple cool things I liked about Carbonita is they only use one pint of water per detailing and they drive around in a smart car. So they are doing a great job and being ec0-friendly. Carbonita is already planning on franchising the company and I expect great things from the founders.

The second group/meet-up I attended this week was Web Leaders Collective. This is a group that has been going for about a year now and is comprised of founders and executives in technology or that run start-ups in San Diego. The group was founded by Chuck Longanecker from Digital Telepathy and is now being led by Lisa Tran.

The first meeting of the year was a poker game with about 16 local entrepreneurs and executives and hosted by Steven Cox at the Takelessons office. It was a  a lot of fun and nice to relax with some entrepreneurs, but don’t be fooled the side conversations were top notch with some very smart people. There were discussions of start-ups doing well, new start-up concepts, investment intros, technology debates, life science topics, and overall a balance of fun and intellect.

If you are running a start-up and looking for a great environment to brain storm with peers I highly recommend attending.

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This is a re-post oldie but goodie from our designers blog: Daily Design Fix . I was inspired to re-post as one of our biz dev guys and I were setting around brainstorming ideas and writing them down on a paper towel over lunch at our kitchen table.

Here is the string and the original post.

1. Your boss actually lives at the office and sleeps 10 feet away from your desk
2. Your conference room “D” is actually the dining room
3. Your work attire now includes your entire closet
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4. You have phone cords running throughout the room
5. Your supply closet doubles as a skype call center
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6. The co-founder of your company is your proof reader
7. When they ask for you, you have to say “hold on one minute” and pretend you actually have an assistant answering your calls before you come back and say “Hello”
8. The sales team brings eggs to cook for breakfast
9. You have actually taken a nap in the boss’ bed
10. You use your neighbor’s garage door as the back drop for your photo shoot
11. You have more food in the office fridge than your one at home
12. Your default password is the office dog
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13. You drink with the boss on Fridays
14. You never know who will be there when you walk into the office
15. Your web developer keeps a trampoline in his trunk and you take lunch breaks in the park (or maybe that’s only artistic hub)
jump 4
16. You leave your slippers under your desk
17. You bring your plant from home to live on your desk
18. You recycle birthday decorations
19. You have so many roles your job definition is impossible
20. You wake up wondering what emergency will arise today
21. You’ve wrestled with a dog in the office, unsuccessfully trying to pry a condom from its mouth
22. You keep extra changes of clothes at the office for days you need a run, or get too sweaty making calls
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23. Your office cleaning lady cleans your home, and does the shopping for both
24. Every spare wall in the house has a marker board on it
25. You laugh your ass off everyday because you are working with your best friends
26. You don’t remember who comes up with the next big idea anymore – your meetings are electric with ideas bouncing off the walls
27. And sometimes, when everything comes together just right you move at the speed of light

-written by Team Hub – Artistic Hub.com
artistichub_jump

28. You write leads on paper towels at lunch while reading business magazines.

Feel free to share your start-up adventures! Add a comment and keep the list going…

mel&mich-obama

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