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5 Ideas for a Summer Business Instead of a Summer Job

5 Ideas for a Summer Business Instead of a Summer Job

Summer vacation is in full swing, but for a lot of students, that means four months of under-employment or sometimes even unemployment. It seems funny to think that so many students expect to graduate and land their dream job, and yet in the summers preceding it they toil away at minimum wage jobs and illegal internships.

If you’re unhappy with your current summer job, check out these five summer start-ups that you can create by yourself, with minimal time or money invested. Starting a business is a great way to get hands-on experience, make some cash and build up your resume. Future employers and grad school admissions committees are sure to be impressed by your hustle and problem-solving skills.

1. Resell video games.

PCs might be dominating the gaming scene, but console games still pack a punch for the casual gamer. There’s currently a strong secret market for old system games on college campuses across North America. Students are always looking for ways to take a break from school and are more than willing to dish out a few bucks for nostalgic games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

In order to be successful, you’ll need to know your customer and which channels are best for reaching them. You can start your inventory by buying old games from friends, classifieds sites, flea markets and marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. The more passionate you are about gaming, the better you’ll be at spotting potential deals and cashing in on rare collectibles. You can promote your new business for free on social media or by putting up posters around your school. You can even sell through Facebook. Once you’ve earned a bit of money, you can reinvest profits in bulk orders of high-margin video game accessories from sites like Alibaba.

2. Design and sell custom T-shirts.

If you’ve never run a business before, selling T-shirts is a great place to start. They’re relatively easy to create and sell, even with no technical or design knowledge. Plus, everyone wears tees, so there’s a huge potential market.

It’s important to remember that your customers are buying a graphic tee because they want to make a statement or support an ideology. Hop on social media and find the memes with the most shares. Once you’ve picked a niche for yourself, it’s time to get deeply engrossed in a subculture that you find interesting, or that’s popular on your campus. You can even check out Google Trends to see what’s buzzworthy and will resonate best with a wider audience.

GoSpaces.com is the perfect platform for launching a t-shirt business. It lets anyone launch an online store for free, and has tons of useful tools like a Refund Policy generator. You can even combine GoSpaces with a print on demand service like Printful so that you never have to worry about keeping inventory in your apartment or dorm room.

3. Build a following on Etsy.

Are you crafty and creative? Do you spend your free time editing photos for Instagram, or painting custom mugs for your friends? Make your art work for you by setting up a profile on a creative platform like Etsy.

One particularly high margin option is selling prints or photographs. They’re cheap to produce and to ship, so you can potentially start making money very quickly if you have a strong portfolio of work. Jewelry, clothing and crafts are also popular, but just be sure to calculate shipping and exchange rates before setting your prices.

Etsy is a community-driven platform, so in order to be successful it’s ideal to connect with other vendors and to join the forums. There are also Etsy-specific groups you can join online to help you navigate your journey as a first time seller. Once you’ve developed a solid following, you may want to graduate to a site of your own instead of renting space from Etsy. Look into setting up your own online store through a platform like Shopify which will allow you to be more in control of your brand and overall business.

4. Write an ebook.

Are you an English lit or creative writing major? Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is a fantastic outlet for aspiring writers and those hoping to establish themselves before college ends. Typically the price of an ebook is low, but the potential exposure is massive. Some writers have even secured deals from well-known publishing houses after publishing their material online.

This business idea isn’t an easy one, but if you’re passionate about writing, it could be the right direction for you. You’ll need to draft, redraft, edit and submit your book to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Promote your work on Facebook and Twitter, and consider becoming a part of the Wattpad community of writers. Think about what material you’ve already written that you could leverage. Perhaps you can transform a past school project on the history of rock and roll or pre-natal nutrition into a best selling ebook.

5. Start a student-friendly cleaning service.

Let’s face it — most college apartments and houses aren’t as clean as they should be. Everyone wants to live in a pristine home, but it’s hard to make that a reality when you’re sharing a space with multiple roommates and juggling a bunch of conflicting responsibilities.

It’s surprisingly easy to start your own campus cleaning company. Just create a quick landing page to advertise your services and start posting the link across Facebook groups, forums and campus bulletin boards. If you offer a few free or discounted cleans in exchange for reviews, you’ll quickly be able to kickstart your new business. You could even start with dorm rooms — you won’t make a ton of money, but they’re relatively quick and easy to clean.

Entrepreneurship isn’t a nine to five job, so all of these ideas will take more time and emotional investment than your average summer gig. That said, they’re potential paths to self sufficiency that are sure to be paved with fantastic learning opportunities — and it will look better on a resume than serving or bartending. Plus, students are in a prime position to be taking risks and testing their entrepreneurial ideas. After all, if your business idea doesn’t work out, you’ll be heading back to the books in September.

 

Originally posted by Lindsay Craig on Entrepreneur

How Memorial Day Can Inspire And Propel Your Business

How Memorial Day Can Inspire And Propel Your Business

Before I started Vanderbloemen Search Group , I was a pastor for many years. And during that time, I had the immense honor and weighty responsibility of officiating several funerals for people who served in our armed forces.

If you’ve ever been to a veteran’s funeral, you’ve probably seen the casket draped in the United States Flag. I remember presiding over both of my grandfathers’ funerals and watching the servicemen painstakingly remove, fold, and present the flags to my grandmothers during the services.

I used to wonder, “Why do we keep the flag? Why not let the fallen soldier take it with him to his grave?” Through the ages, people have sent mementos to accompany the departed. Whether it was enormous treasures for Pharaohs in Egypt, horses buried with departed generals, or even a stuffed animal with a deceased child, we have a long history of burying belongings with the dead. So why not the flag with the fallen soldier?

 Then, a few years ago, a friend of mine explained it to me. The soldier may fall, but the flag doesn’t stop flying.

This is a significant lesson to keep in mind as we remember our fallen heroes this weekend. We recall their falling with grief, we honor their sacrifice with gratitude, and we celebrate the fact that, because of them, our flag still flies. And because of that, we walk on with hope and courage.

Entrepreneurs, can you see the parallels to the hope needed as you lead your business? For me, I feel called to stay in close touch with the cause behind my business. Without the cause, my spirit might falter every time we run into a challenge or experience a failure. And if I’m not running fast after our cause, how can I expect my team to run fast after it as well? As the leader of your business, your team is watching you closely for how you handle challenges. Will you hold fast to the cause for which you are providing a solution or will you falter as problems arise?

The soldier may have fallen, but the flag still flies. We may suffer failures from new ideas, bad hires, or leadership mistakes. We may face setbacks from growing pains, economic frustrations, and difficult clients. But the flag of our mission, our “why” behind all we do, still flies.

When I focus on our larger cause, I’m reminded that those failures are only temporary setbacks, not the death of the cause. When I focus on our cause, I see a new problem as an opportunity to solve a new challenge for our clients. And likewise, when it’s the end of my time at my company and I pass the baton on to the next leader, the flag of the mission will still fly.

Our fallen soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I’m not minimizing that. Nor do I want to over-dramatize our business lives. But today can serve as a timely reminder for entrepreneurs to ask themselves, “Does my business have a cause that can outlast major setbacks and outlast me?” If not, spend time reflecting on the reason you started your business and the cause that fueled your passion to start it.

Take time today to remember the fallen heroes of our armed forces. Thank God for those who have laid down their life to preserve our national freedom. And let that theme guide you to reflect on how you can focus your business around a cause more permanent than ever. It may make the difference between surviving your next bump in the road or not.

 

Originally posted on Forbes by William Vanderbloemen 

5 Wrong Reasons for Becoming an Entrepreneur

5 Wrong Reasons for Becoming an Entrepreneur

There are many good reasons to become an entrepreneur. We live in a place and time that not only celebrates entrepreneurship, but makes it both possible and rewarding. Even those of us who never take the plunge at least occasionally fantasize about what it would be like to create and run a business of our own, whether we’re after the creative potential, the feeling of autonomy or the chance to follow our passion.

I firmly believe that anyone with the right dedication can become a successful entrepreneur, regardless of his or her motivations. However, there are some “wrong” reasons to become an entrepreneur, and if they constitute your motivations, you’ll be more likely to be dissatisfied with your work, will burn out,or will actually fail:

1. To get rich

Thanks to the popularization of outlier entrepreneurs who seemed to become overnight billionaires, there’s a common misconception that entrepreneurship is the fast track to getting rich. As the owner of your business, you’ll be entitled to at least a portion of the profits your company makes (and potentially all of it, if there are no other owners). In addition to that, you may draw a salary.

However, that won’t guarantee that your business will be profitable, or will succeed indefinitely. It’s certainly possible to make a good living from your business, but you can’t count on striking it rich — even if you have a good idea.

Being motivated only by money will interfere with your ability to make long-term decisions for your business, and will leave you feeling unsatisfied and stressed if you don’t meet your target numbers.

2. To become famous

It’s true that becoming an entrepreneur has the potential to increase your personal visibility — especially if your marketing strategy relies on media exposure. Look at entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Richard Branson or Elon Musk: Tese are high-profile people who get lots of media attention and have attained celebrity status.

However, pursuing business creation and management for the sole sake of gaining popularity for yourself is a bad idea. Relentlessly pursuing more personal branding opportunities is going to take you away from the office, where you’ll be needed. Plus, your idea of successful entrepreneurship will lmost certainly be distorted by survivorship bias.

3. To have unlimited vacation

Yes, it’s true: As an entrepreneur, you’ll get to make your own schedule. You’ll set your own hours, work whatever days you want and take unlimited vacation time, if you want. But, remember, your business’s success will depend on the effort you put in, and the unfortunate reality is that your first business is more likely than not to fail.

If you’re busy traveling six months out of the year, you won’t have enough time invested in your business to help it become successful. If all you can think about is vacation time as a business owner, you’ll be grossly underestimating the amount of work it takes to run that business. Instead, chances are, you won’t have much time for regular days off for at least a year or two.

4. To make other people happy

Some entrepreneurs start businesses because they like the idea of being a positive force in the world, and I respect that. They want to build a great team, take care of their employees, make clients happy and make the world a better place while they’re at it.

Unfortunately, though, this mentality may lead to poor business decisions; for example, you’ll be more likely to keep unproductive workers around (rather than making tough decisions to fire them) because you’ve bonded with them. You’ll keep unprofitable clients because you refuse to move on. And you’ll sacrifice your own profitability for other causes.

You may be willing to make those sacrifices, but your business won’t do anybody any good if it ends up folding. As a business owner, your primary responsibility should be to make the right decisions for your business.

This position will make you feel sort of like a parent, with the business your child. It’s up to you to protect it and nurture it. After all, if you don’t, who will?

5. Because, “Why not?”

You may not have a specific motivation. You may just have an idea and the impression that anyone can become a business owner. At that point, you might also be thinking to yourself, “Why not?” and be building a business for no reason other than the fact that you can. This is a whimsical approach that does have a chance of succeeding, but it’s more likely that you’ll start running into problems you had no idea existed.

Do you have a financial model? Do you know how to scale? Do you know how much capital you need to start or what competitors are out there? Are you psychologically strong enough? Are you familiar with the dark truths of entrepreneurship?

If these motivations represent only a portion of what’s driving you, they probably won’t sabotage your efforts. For example, if you like the idea of becoming rich, but you’re also interested in being your own boss and working with a team of people you get to choose, your monetary motivations aren’t likely to interfere with your happiness or your decision-making.

There are lots of good reasons to become an entrepreneur, but before you take the next step, think carefully about what your personal motivations are, and whether they’re healthy reasons to pursue business ownership.

 

 

Orignally posted on Entrepreneur by Jayson DeMers

10 Successful Executives Share Advice From Their Mothers They’ll Never Forget

10 Successful Executives Share Advice From Their Mothers They’ll Never Forget

Mother knows best. At least it’s true for a pile of successful founders and CEOs who point to their mothers for steering them in the right directions. Check out the stellar advice they say they’ll never forget.

1. Always remember where you came from.
“My mom was tough with me on my academic achievements and always expected the best from me and my siblings. But she led by example, graduating at the top of her class from med school, getting a master’s while we were in elementary school, and a PhD she finished just two years ago. She did all of this while working full time. Her continuous striving for knowledge and personal growth is inspiring to me as a woman. One of the most memorable pieces of advice she gave me was ‘Never forget where you came from.’ This is a sentence I have never forgotten, living now so far from where I grew up–Tijuana–and in such a different reality. I remind myself constantly of the blessings I’ve received and now to be where I am. Remembering where you came from is also remembering who has been with you all along.”

–Alexandra Zatarain, co-founder of Eight, a nonwearable sleep tracker that senses and analyzes more than 15 factors from a person’s sleep patterns and bedroom environment, to determine the conditions that encourage optimal rest

2. Don’t go to jail.
“Our mother always told us that confidence is what will make or break whatever you do, whether it comes to relationships or work. Be confident in your decisions but still take ownership of your mistakes. [Doing so] makes you more credible in the long term. That, and don’t go to jail.”

–Emily Motayed and Lee Mayer, sisters and co-founders of the online interior design platform Havenly

3. Never take shortcuts.
“My mother and I are close, and one of the best pieces of advice she has given was that throughout life’s journey, never take shortcuts and always trust your employees by showing them respect. This always shows integrity, and helps empower and encourage everyone to work together and do their best.”

–Constantin Bisanz, founder and CEO of on-the-go wellness company Aloha

4. Wake up with a smile or change something.
“Work hard and have fun. The more hours you invest, the more you get things done. But it is also key to remember that if you don’t wake up with a smile, do something else. Simple as that.”

–Magnus Larsson, CEO of Rebtel, a mobile communications company offering unlimited international calling to mobile phones and landlines for a nominal monthly rate

5. Build something you love.
“I grew up an only child, raised by a single mother. My mother worked her ass off to raise me, and it wasn’t easy. She taught me to work hard to cultivate and build something you love, and something special: In her case, it was me. In my case–right now–it’s [my app], Overnight. I’m lucky that I got to see this kind of work ethic, and it’s the most impactful example that has shaped me into who I am today. No matter how hard it could be, just keep climbing, and something great will come out of it. That’s your only choice when you have something special you’re bringing up.”

–Asher Hunt, co-founder and CEO of Overnight, an app for booking last-minute spaces with local hosts

6. Always stay active.
“My mother has always represented persistence, confidence, and a can-do attitude. She regularly woke up at 4:30 a.m. to drive me to crew practice and then jump in a boat herself to learn to row and race in the master’s program. Next, she took on golf and at 60-plus years old is regularly ranked in the top women at PGA National and Jonathan’s Landing clubs in Florida. My parents supported my brother and me in any undertaking we embarked on, as long as we agreed to give it our all.”

–Erin Sykes, founder and CEO of Mission 360, a curated community dedicated to empowering people seeking a stronger body, enriched spirit, and expanded mind

7. Stay exactly the way you are.
“My mum is a true fighter … She always motivated me to push my limits and elevate to excellence in any space that I was in. I have a Christmas card that I still carry with me in my wallet every day. It must have been more than 10 years ago that I got it and it translates to: ‘Dear Pia, Stay exactly the way you are–headstrong, determined, with your heart in the right place.'”

–Pia Poppenreiter, co-founder and CEO of Ohlala, a paid dating app that connects people to instant dates on demand

8. Everything is possible.
“My mother is an amazing woman who is a little eccentric and has the strongest momentum. I think the best advice she’s ever given me is that everything is possible and the world is yours, and to remember that everything is created by people who are no smarter than you.”

–Michael Cassau, founder and CEO of ByeBuy, a startup that grants unlimited access to gadgets via a subscription program.

9. Know which pocket to reach into.
“My mom is a fascinating woman. Beautiful as she is brilliant, she could’ve spent her life immersed in academic or professional pursuits had she not birthed me and my sisters. Instead, this highly educated, accomplished woman chose to focus all her efforts on raising us and caring for our every need. She would always say that in one pocket you keep a note that says ‘the whole world was built for me’ and in the other pocket a note that says ‘my only purpose is to serve others.’ All of life is knowing when to reach into which pocket. As I grow older, I keep discovering new layers of depth to this saying.”

–Asher Weinberger, co-founder and CEO of Twillory, a New York City-based startup that provides quality dress shirts at a fair price

10. Take risks and go on adventures.
“My mom has taught me how to be independent, while always putting family first. When I broke both knees while kite surfing, she took care of me and still encouraged me to get back out there once I was healed. Starting when I was 4 years old, she would send me to Argentina alone to spend the summer with my grandparents and cousins. At first, this was a terrifying experience, but over time I become quite the little world traveler. When it comes to work-life balance, my mom is a total rock star. She has always had her own successful business, while juggling family and lots of overseas adventures.”

–Eric Sanchez, founder and CEO of the smart action camera company REVL

By Christina DesMarais – Contributor, Inc.com
Originally posted on Inc.com

4 things CEOs (and top NFL draft picks) do every day to stay successful

There’s no offseason in business. The nonstop grind — travel, meetings, email — takes a toll on anyone’s health. It should come as no surprise that 96% of senior leaders feel somewhat burned out, according to a Harvard study.

Life in the NFL, where the average career lasts just 3.3 years, isn’t any less intense. Stress builds before guys are even in the league, throughout the combine and pro day workouts leading up to that life-changing moment when they hear their names called at the NFL draft, which begins today.

So how do successful athletes and executives stay cool under pressure and achieve a long, healthy career? Start with these four tips.

1. Practice health strategies you can adapt

The NFL’s job interview process, the combine, runs for three days, from 5 a.m. until midnight. It’s not a test of talent; it’s a measure of preparation to withstand cognitive and physical stress.

In the NFL, or any profession, top performers don’t just grit their teeth through stressful situations; they practice performance-minded skill sets every day, all year.

“I’m going to work out for 45 minutes every day” isn’t a sustainable strategy because it doesn’t flex for real life. “I can find five minutes to focus on my breathing” is the type of adaptive strategy we practice to maintain health and performance in chaotic times.

Although there are many effective strategies, the key is learning how to apply the right ones for you. That’s what we, at EXOS, do with every business, health system and athlete with whom we work.

2. Own the first three minutes of your day

Start each morning with intentional thought. Express gratitude, map out your vision for the day, do whatever you find puts you in the driver’s seat rather than a reactive state.

Next, drink a tall glass of water, and massage the arch of your foot over a tennis ball or golf ball while you brush your teeth.

This primes your physical balance, turns on each side of your brain and puts you in a positive state of mind.

3. Control the way you prepare, eat, hydrate, move and rest

Sound like a tall task? Simplify the terms: mindset, nutrition, movement, recovery. If one of these four pillars is lacking, health and performance will be less than optimal, no matter your profession.

Keep this in mind as you go about your day. For instance, remember those first three minutes of the morning? Once that’s habit, plan your next five minutes (you could try light stretching), then 15 (eat a bowl of Greek yogurt, berries, nuts and seeds and grab snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day).

The more skill you gain in these four areas, the better you’ll be able to sustain your health and performance under pressure.

4. Shut it down at night

There’s a reason many elite athletes, such as J.J. Watt, sleep 10 or more hours a night. Quality sleep restores your brain and body. But you don’t need to sleep like an all-pro to sleep well.

What’s important is establishing a consistent pre-sleep ritual. For instance, avoid electronics and alcohol, eat a balanced snack that’s high in protein and healthy fat, make your bedroom cool and dark and take a hot shower or bath.

Winning this process at the end of the day will prepare you to win tomorrow.

 

 

Originally posted by Mark Verstegen on cnbc.com

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