For a lot of people, November doesn't just mean the beginning of the holiday season or that time of year when it gets darker out. There are many of us who look forward to November with nervous anticipation. November 1 means it is time to write a novel in 30 days.
30 days? Not possible, you say.
Well... It is possible! It is very possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days, which is what the National Novel Writing Month challenge, NaNoWriMo, is all about.
Started almost twenty years ago by founder Chris Baty, his fun personal challenge has become a world-wide event. There are writers scattered across almost every continent. One of the most fun things about NaNoWriMo is the friendships and conversations that develop over the month of the challenge. I have been very lucky to make some amazing, long-lasting friendships through my NaNoWriMo participation. Treehouse Society's Jenny is one of those friends.
I've participated for 13 years. Once you get started, it is hard to stop. My first year I had no idea that there was a whole community both locally and internationally to meet up with and commiserate with.
Now I know to look forward to the annual Kick-Off Party, the weekly get togethers (write-ins) where people gather in cafes to write, and the Thank Goodness It's Over Party, usually held the first weekend in December. There is also a website; www.nanowrimo.org, where people can get advice on every aspect of their novel, figure out when local events are happening, and procrastinate by reading the hundreds of different forum threads.
November becomes a month of meeting new people, trying to juggle work, regular life and the daily task of writing at least 1,667 words. This is not high quality literature, but I cannot overstate just how absolutely fun it is to try to write a novel in such a compressed amount of time. Some Wrimos (one of many nicknames for participants) spend a lot of time outlining and planning their novels. Others start with a blank page each November 1 and hope for the best. Both methods have their pros and cons. It is always interesting to see how awry a plan can go, or how a random thought can blossom into an amazing story.
I have written hundreds of thousands of words since my first year participating. Not everything is amazing but I often find a sentence or an idea that inspires further thought and work, and that makes the challenge that much more worthwhile.
The last 8,000 words of a novel I wrote several years ago became a short story which was published in 2014. The novel I am working on 'in real life' stems from a character who randomly appeared in my 2014 November project.
The art of 30 day noveling is not for everyone. It is easy to fall behind on your word count. It is easy to lose heart and despise what you've written. But there is no better feeling than reaching 50,000 words on November 30th.
Our regional group will be celebrating the end of NaNoWriMo with a get together at Treehouse Society on December 2, from 2 PM to 4:30 PM.
Growth is a risky but necessary task for startups to survive. Growth may be assessed in the context of employees, customers, revenue, liquidity, profit, geographic locations, and a variety of other dimensions. Regardless of the growth type, hurdles always exist. An entrepreneur who understands the risks, and knowingly takes them, will have a chance to grow; whereas one who is not willing to take risks will not.
Growth helps startups to establish legitimacy, creating new options to grow. Larger companies are statistically less likely to fail given the amount of resources they have. This is why larger companies have more potential investors and customers. It is during and right after a period of growth that companies find it easiest to acquire investment capital. Companies which are perceived as having crossed their initial startup hurdles are seen as being stable. Normally, with size comes an increase in profitability and liquidity for the company. This gives it history, which partners and investors are more willing to trust. Assets and finances will thus become more attainable than they were before. With growth, the company forms new connections and is able to access new markets. This results in an increase in sales, profitability and influence.
An entrepreneur is normally faced with different challenges and different needs at each phase of the business development process. Advisors, investors, or potential customers sometimes provide support throughout the entire business development cycle for growth. Depending on how fundraising is done, crowdfunding or traditionally investment, those are the type of support group that an entrepreneur could depend on as these people are invested in the company.
Within a neoclassical economics framework where things are produced by combining inputs in a production function, the most straight forward way is to get technological change to produce it. Research and development can be undertaken by combining land, labor, and capital to produce technological change. The successes attributable to investment in research and development are indisputable, but research and development expenditures cannot be the whole story because once the research is done, the results need to be applied to make production cheaper or in some cases, to produce goods and services that have never been produced before. This is the role of entrepreneurship.
Labor economists have highlighted that mid-level opportunities are being stripped out of today's organizations at a remarkable pace. This leaves a greater number of people with the prospect of working either in dream jobs or lousy jobs, which sit at the polar opposite of the job market. The impression here is that a lot of people are being pushed into self-employment partly because of a lack of decent job opportunities and partly because those jobs that do remain are becoming less attractive. Yet this is only one part of the story. Rather than forcing people into self employment, many of these organizational shifts should instead be seen as the 'trigger' that is pushing people toward their entrepreneurial ambitions.
One of the major drivers of the microbusiness boom existing today is a sign of an aging society that needed to be improved upon. Technological progress is not the final but a crucial ingredient behind the boom in self-employment. While the broader impact of the internet age may be questioned by some, its transformative effects on the world of business are easy to see.
At Treehouse Society, we really believe in growth of companies. This is why we have membership ranging from open desks to private offices. Take a tour today!
Related: 5 Ways to Get Entrepreneurship Funding
Most of the time, entrepreneurs set out to disrupt the existing market without looking at legality of their business. They normally try to get traction before any legal framework is established. It is essential to learn about the laws related to your business before you start as it will help you operate your business smoothly. A good place to start would be to Google your questions on legality as well as asking around for legal advice. It is a good idea to seek the expert guidance of an accountant and attorney to learn about the latest business laws that might affect your startup. Also, check into local activist groups who might want to pull your startup down for power play before you launch into a region. The more you learn about the bureaucracy and laws that govern the kind of business entity you are starting, the more confident you will be.
Entrepreneurs often think that if they have a creative new product or service idea, they will make millions. They imagine the best situation that could happen instead of thinking of the reality of laws. Sometimes, the entrepreneur could get lucky and the product or service is a success. But, all too often, legal and other factors can influence the outcome. Airbnb and Uber are great examples as they became the poster child of legal nightmares. They are some extreme cases of resilience as they faced years of lawsuits and policies specific to their companies.
They were at a point of history where technology can solve many problems such as not having enough hotel rooms during conventions or not having enough taxis in an area. However, both of them end up becoming the poster child of violating local laws and faced years of legal battles.
After the initial success of Airbnb and as hosting was getting more popular, cities across the United States Started regulating what a host could do. Many from the hotel industry started accusing hosts and called their listings illegal. Cities across the nation started regulating on Airbnb hosts. We could all say Airbnb started a new industry so it was hard for anyone to come up with a legal solution as it was a new product, so it is hard to predict if this could have been prevented.
Since Uber was out in the market, many taxi drivers felt threatened by the competition by the new technology. They have stopped everything from airport pickup to banning Uber in cities altogether. As many headlines pointed out, these lawsuits could've been preventable if their legal team had applied for permits. But many entrepreneurs such as Uber's cofounders believe in asking for forgiveness, not for permission, and let their products launch before fully getting licensed.
Not many could be as lucky as Uber and Airbnb to have enough capital and lawyers to face legal battles. For starter, here is a list of things to look out for when starting a business.
Of course, there are examples of companies who have done business with the correct permitting and legality. One of our favorite transportation companies in San Francisco is Chariot. They are always up to date with permits and comply with the city of San Francisco right away whenever they have an issue.
Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. Indeed, the life of an entrepreneur is a series of setbacks that need to be worked through. It is rare to have a perfect set of circumstances that are necessary to make your business an overnight sensation, or successful at all for that matter. There will be forthcoming fears, doubts, and the self-defeating conditioning of your upbringing and past. Unwanted naysayers', copycats, and energy vampires will appear in the way of your business. But no matter what happens, your independent thinking, self-motivation, and self- accountability should drive you through the landmines.
The distractions of entrepreneurship contribute to 66% of new businesses failing. As an entrepreneur, your critical job is to stay focused and inspired to keep your ride from coming to a screeching halt. The one thing that will determine your business success is traction and sales. Make sure you wake up daily to be motivated.
Ultimately, your ability to roll with the punches, keep up the energy, be relentless in your pursuit to deliver value, and have good instinctual business sense will help you become the entrepreneur you strive to be.
Here are some tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone- Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and especially not for the faint of heart. Some people are born to be entrepreneurs while others will fall into it naturally. If you can't see yourself leaving the comfort of a substantial corporate salary and starting a new brand from scratch, then maybe the entrepreneurial lifestyle isn't the best for you.
Expect Risks- Entrepreneurship takes a lot of time and sacrifice. You need to be ready to give up everything from job security, financial stability, and social life, and sometimes even friendships to dedicate however long it takes to build the business. Expect to work long hours for little pay, and always be on high alert for whatever you are faced with.
Get Customers- It doesn't matter how socially conscious or environmentally friendly your project is. It doesn't matter how brilliant your cause sounds or how critical your mission or how awesome your culture is, if you don't have enough customers, you will be out of business fast. There are no bailouts for small businesses or entrepreneurs. There are no safety nets on this ride. Your only insurance is your ability to gain customers.
Embrace Failures- It is very possible that despite your best efforts it may not work out, and you have to be ready and willing to accept failure. Failure is significant in the process, and with it comes invaluable lessons and experiences which will carry on throughout your time as an entrepreneur. Remember, you are probably going to fail, and the world doesn't care how many times it happens as long as it is one fewer than the number you get back up.
The world of entrepreneurship is a wild ride. Make sure to make some friends who are in a similar ride. Come by Treehouse Society to meet other entrepreneurs who understand.
Related: Entrepreneurial Work Environment
There are a lot of assumptions about entrepreneurship. For example, people think that only extroverts could be entrepreneurs. A quiet reserved introvert is not something that comes to mind. Aren't entrepreneurs supposed to be gregarious and commanding- verbally adept and able to inspire employees, clients, and investors with the sheer force of their personality? No wonder the advice for introverts who want to be entrepreneurs has long been some form of: "Be more extroverted." However, introverts could actually make great entrepreneurs. Examples include Larry Page, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk. These are impressive names to drop as introverted entrepreneurs.
There are some drawbacks to being introverted especially in the corporate world, but introverts are also able to listen well and observe a situation a lot better than extroverts. Larry Page is a great example of listening skills and because of his ability to listen and process, he is able to innovate. Being an introvert might also affect the strategic choices of how to structure your business.
For starters, introverts are often very passionate about their ideas and creating something new. They aren't all about gaining power, and they don't crave glorification. By their nature, introverts tend to get passionate about one, two, or three things in their lives, and the service of their passion for an idea. This is why introverts could be more productive in business.
Entrepreneurial Ideas for Introverts:
Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and expertise in writing without requiring you even to leave your couch.
Internet and software use continue to gain popularity. So, if you can develop those softwares, you can create your own and sell it. You can even offer your services to other businesses.
Web designs are always changing so if you are able to stay ahead of the curve, you are able to come up with innovative designs.
For highly creative and visual introverts, freelance graphic design can be a great way to make a living. With digital businesses on the rise, demand is higher than ever. You can also share your talents as a designer by creating graphics like logos or branding elements.
An introspective entrepreneur might favor a small business running out of a home office, but it is possible to fall into the trap of isolating yourself too much. And in order to grow as a person, one must always step out of his/ her comfort zone. Getting a private office in a coworking space might be a good idea for an introvert who is starting a business. You can work inside the comfort of quiet while still able to socialize with others who share the common space. Here at Treehouse Society, we have affordable private offices to choose from.
Schedule a tour today!
Related: 7 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Should be Listening to
Employment in the gig economy is growing far faster than traditional payroll employment, by using a little known statistic, the researchers found evidence of a significant change in the numbers and the potential for a huge realignment in the very nature of employment.
Hop into an Uber in San Francisco, and you are likely to find that your driver is an out-of-work artist, bemoaning the difficulty of chasing the surge. The gig economy in the US is fraught and controversial: for every article lauding it, another piece complains; for every artist making a buck driving Uber, someone else is using Uber to transport cocaine.
But as the Uberization of all things spreads across the globe, what does this look like in developing countries? It turns out that in developing nations, platforms where freelancers can make money, the Ubers, Craigslist, and Postmates of overseas-may just be the next big driver of economic development.
Over the past 20 years, the number of gig economy workers- those who operate as independent contractors, often through apps- has increased by 27 percent more than payroll employees, according to CNBC calculations using data from the report. The change is even more severe in specific industries, like ground transportation, where the number of gig economy workers increased 44% more than payroll employees.
In short, misconceptions about the growth of the gig economy. While there is no doubt that alternative work arrangements have increased substantially over the past decade, the type of mechanisms that have improved are not the ones most commonly discussed by observers. More importantly, the reasons why these new forms of work have become more common appear to be different from what many pundits have argued. Data collected and carefully analyzed by academic researchers reveal that most of this growth comes from the more signifivant offline use of contract employees to find work for upper income, older members of the labor force.
Until the government designs more specific measures to track the growth of the gig economy, the Census' non-employer firms may be the best measure we have. But it has implications beyond measurements of employment. If the Bureau of LAbor Statistics included gig economy employment in its monthly jobs report, for example, it is possible the country's unemployment could appear lower, which could convince the Federal Reserve that the economy is stable enough for an interest rate hike.
It also changes an individual's relationship with employement. Health insurance, for example, has long been tied to employment status. Without an employer, more workers are dependent on health exchanges that were setup under the Affordable Care Act and could be jeopardized if that disappeared.
As technology advances, we are seeing more and more Uberization of workforce. With the pros of flexibility comes the cons of having less benefits, our society could see more effects of this in the upcoming decade.
Related: Gig Economy Trends
Entrepreneurs have different personality traits than corporate managers, scoring far higher on traits such as openness to experience (curiosity+innovation) and conscientiousness (self-discipline, motivation) and considerably lower on neuroticism, which allows them to tolerate stress better.
Here are some traits:
For those uninitiated, entrepreneurs are not in it for the money. While there have been some icons who have made more cash than most people such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, the reality is that most entrepreneurs work an insane number of hours for little or nothing. Why would they put themselves through this if they are not driven to either solve a problem or make the world a better place?
Throughout all the trials and tribulations, entrepreneurs reward themselves internally by realizing that they are on a mission for the greater good. No matter how bad it gets, it is their passion that motivates them between paydays and during all the times when everyone else tells them to quit. It is commonly assumed that successful entrepreneurs are driven by money. But most will say they are fueled by a passion for their product or service, by the opportunity to solve a problem and make life easier, better, cheaper.
Being able to adapt to changes and challenges is crucial for any business. In fact, most entrepreneurs will inform you that their idea or business plan is drastically different than when it began. An idea may be brilliant, but in reality, it isn't useful. Entrepreneurs are flexible enough to make the adjustments to make that idea feasible. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are prepared and willing to modify their plan when new information arrives and when there are changes in circumstances. Business survival, like that of the species depends on adaptation. Your final product or service likely won't look anything like what you started with. The flexibility that allows you to respond to changing tastes and market conditions is essential. You have to have a willingness to be honest with yourself and say, "This isn't working." You have to be able to pivot.
If you are going to build a startup, you'll need a spirit of determination coupled with a high pain tolerance. You'll need to be willing and able to learn from your mistakes - to get knocked down repeatedly, get up, dust yourself off, move forward with renewed motivation.
People will constantly tell you your baby's ugly, that your business won't work. Now, you should listen carefully and be open to constructive criticism. But after a while, having the door slammed in your face repeatedly can be withering, and the best entrepreneurs learn to feed off the negativity and gain strength from it.
You may not start out with a fool-proof gyroscope, but to survive as an entrepreneur, you'll need that strong sense of perspective, how to maintain pure, clear focus, as well as how to be at peace with, and learn from a failure. Understanding that not all battles are worth winning, and when to walk away. Knowing that most people in your startup aren't as entrepreneurial as you and that this may just be a very cool job for them, but it is still a job. Learn when to go home and hug your loved ones and when to go for a run.
Along the entrepreneurial journey, there are a good number of successes to share with your team, stakeholders, and your customers. However, there are plenty of times where there are a ton of failures and setbacks. There are also a ton of people who are jealous and envious of your journey from your seemingly successful life. You start turning inward and can mostly rely on yourself, but solitude can turn to the more corrosive loneliness.
The entrepreneurial journey can be lonely, but always remember there is value in the process. The Friday nights you spent in the office working may one day become something that helps millions of people. It could solve an industry's problem. It could save lives. But in pursuing this, you must brainstorm ways to find a balance to cultivate healthy relationships, fun hobbies, and stable mental health.
An easeful peer community of shared assumptions and base experience is increasingly rare in our balkanized society. The soulful amelioration of business loneliness is not something that any entrepreneur should repress or shove aside lightly. It shouldn't be ignored.
Entrepreneurship's dark side is the psychological toll that can put any business owners at higher risk for mental health issues, and loneliness is a slippery slope.
Here is how to overcome loneliness of entrepreneurship:
1. Find an entrepreneurial community
There is often no greater remedy to entrepreneurial loneliness than finding a community of fellow entrepreneurs. Whether you cultivate these friendships in person or virtually, building a community with other founders will help bring a positive remedy to loneliness. Other entrepreneurs will understand the feeling - and know the importance of investing time and energy into a startup. You will find friendships that respect the dedication to your business and understanding of the challenges you are facing.
At Treehouse Society, we have a community of entrepreneurs where you can find respect and understanding of your entrepreneurial journey.
2. Change the Scenery
For a lot of startups, renting office space can be too costly. But there are happy-medium alternatives to the little workspace wedged into the corner of your kitchen. Try answering emails from a cafe or get a membership at a coworking space. Treehouse Society provides lounging spaces similar to cafes and a professional setting as an office. Come take a tour!
3. Stay in Shape
Think about it this way: as an entrepreneur, you might have the advantage of a very short commute - a slippered shuffle from the bedroom to your home office. As a busy entrepreneur, that extra hour of going to the gym could be put to good use: fulfilling orders, working on a social media strategy, answering customer service emails. But since you have an extra hour since you have a short commute, it might be an hour better used to stay in shape. Studies show that fitness improves concentration and enhances creativity, which are essential attributes of a great entrepreneur.
There are numerous gyms around Treehouse Society so you could take that extra hour of work break to stay in shape.
4. Work with your mentor
When you need help to find balance or to combat loneliness as an entrepreneur, consider talking with your mentor. Mentors can be a great resource for tactical topics of entrepreneurship and are invaluable resources for learning how to live as an entrepreneur. Most likely, they have been lonely - and hopefully, they've overcome it. Talk with them about strategies for balancing a healthy life at work and out of work. If you are close with your mentor, they may feel like they are in your community too. And maybe a good phone call to make when you are in the thick of loneliness and need advice.
5. Remember who you are
You might lose friendships because of your dedication to your business. When this happens, you may question your decisions or focus on your startup. Remember, your gifts are different than the gifts of others. The insatiable desire to innovate and create is both a curse and blessing of an entrepreneur. Recognize your gifts and remember other entrepreneurs have been there.
Related: 7 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Should be Listening to
ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering. It is often used by startups to go around the heavily regulated process of raising capital as required by banks or venture capitalists. That is to say that ICO is an unregulated method of raising funds for new cryptocurrency ventures. It works like this: a new start-up is about to raise money using an ICO, it creates a plan of what their project is about, what the project will achieve when it has been completed, how much would be required to finance it, and how much of the realizations would be reserved for the pioneers, the acceptable type of money and the duration of the campaign.
When the campaign begins, supporters of the project buy the startup’s cryptocoins using their coin wallet. If the money raised at the end of the campaign doesn’t meet the company’s target, it is returned to the owners and the ICO is deemed to have failed. However, if the amount is achieved and the project becomes successful, the cryptocoins would increase in value.
Venture capital on the other hand, is funding provided by investors for new businesses; businesses that are believed to have high profit potential. Venture capital is not always in monetary form; sometimes it can be technical or managerial expertise and is usually offered by financial institutions, investment banks or wealthy investors in return for equity in the business.
Pros of Initial Coin Offerings
DecentralizationBeing open to the general public, anyone in the cryptocurrency can partake in an ICO so long as they can get their funds transferred in time. The idea of cryptocurrency is to make the opportunity of investment as decentralized as possible.
Crowd BackingA startup funded by ICO has the advantage of a support system that is more or less a fan base. This increases word of mouth advertising for the company and decreases the need for standard marketing and user acquisition.
Increase in Social EnterpriseAs we know, venture capitalists more often than not invest only in projects that have a high potential for return from their investment. The coming of ICOs will mean funding for many more projects which don’t have the kind of profit motives required by venture capitalists.
Investment OpportunityMost people who have invested in ICOs such as bitcoin and ether do not want to pay capital gains taxes and so are unmotivated to bring their profits offline. ICO offers a solution for those profits. Ether and Bitcoin can be converted into a new cryptocoin which adds to their scarcity and increases their value.
DeregulationICOs are not regulated. It is possible for fake startups to come into the market and defraud supporters. Users may not be reimbursed if things go wrong. However, smart contracts are now used to lock up ICO funds.
TimingWith the speed at which ICOs sell out, many people may not get to partake in the campaign for the mere fact that they can’t get their funds transferred in time
Pros of Venture Capital
Besides monetary funding, venture capitalists can provide business guidance and consultation for startups.
It is easy to make valuable connections because venture capitalists are usually well connected in the business industry.
As a business owner, getting venture capital funding secures your own finances. If the business fails, the owner is not required to pay back the venture capitalists who invested.
Loss of Control
The possibility of the owners of startups losing control of their ventures is quite glaring. This is because venture capital is basically equity financing. Venture capitalists who invest in a business have stakes in that business and depending on the size of the stakes, can assume control over or influence the company’s policies.
There are many ways to fund your new startup. Do your research and go with the one that is the best for your venture.
Related: 5 Ways to Get Entrepreneurship Funding
Freelancers can do many different things. You can be a freelance artist, a freelance consultant, a freelance writer, designer, producer, filmmaker, wedding planner, photographer- the possibilities are endless.
If you are a woman entrepreneur looking for graphic designer that are vibrant, energetic, and you, are you more likely to hire a graphic designer who describes themselves as working with women entrepreneurs who are vibrant, energetic, and young, or are you likely to hire a graphic designer who works with startup CEOs or corporate finance? Of course, you would pick the graphic designer who works with women entrepreneurs.
As a freelancer, you need to be ultra-specific in your business plan about your selling point. Get down to the nitty gritty. Don't just define the demographics of your dream clients - define the psychographics too. Psychographics are their beliefs, values, and lifestyles that define who they are.
As a freelancer, you are worried. Where are my projects coming from? But if you say yes to everything, then you are not going to make enough money from some of those projects. Once you are finished with your freelance business plan, reopen it at least once every few months to see how well you are staying on track with your plans, or if you need to make some revisions.
Marketing can seem like a scary buzzword for most new freelancers, but it's a necessary piece of the puzzle to thrive in your freelancing business. Instead of thinking of this exercise as creating a marketing plan, which can be daunting, just consider exactly how you will find your clients.
For every client that exists, it feels like there are dozens of freelancers vying for attention. You have to have something that sets you apart. This is what your "unique selling proposition."
The good news is that you have already done some work with finding your unique selling proposition when you have your dream clients. There's no better unique selling proposition than catering specifically to the type of person or business your dream client is or has. This will set you apart as an expect on the specific subject matter your client needs. Can you further set yourself apart with a rock-solid guarantee or an angle that makes you different?
You are starting a freelancing business to earn money. And while uber-detailed financial forecasting can be left for the startups that need venture capital, it is still a good idea to plan for how you will earn your money in your business. Consider what you will sell to your dream clients. Sure, you are freelancing, so it might not seem as if you will sell anything, but you are- you are selling services.
Consider what you will price your services at. How much will you charge for different levels of service? Then, consider how many clients you will have to work with month over month to earn a full-time living and cover your business expenses, including taxes. You may be surprised at how much clarity this exercise can help you achieve.
So consider what your costs will be to run your business. Will you invest in more expensive tools as you earn more money with your business? What will that look like? Your business isn't set in stone. It will move, change, and evolve, but it is still crucial that you create a plan.
This is an important thing to have in your business plan because you will need to be ultra-clear on it so you can communicate it to the right people frequently.
Related: How to Start Your Freelance Journey
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