Collegepreneur The Magazine For Today’s Young Genius
| winter 2009
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Flushing In A New Breed of Business
The $2to0r Invtemsoves on
Smar dget a bu
Dyslexic? Take our quick test(pg 4)
Think Like A
(even if you’re sitting on $25)
Mike Michalowicz Author, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
• How To Marry The Right Computer • Beat Procrastination For Good • Ace Your Exams
$4.99 US $5.99 CAN
From Page 5
more Brits to vote in the upcoming elections.
audience. Another employed interactive urinal communicators. A third used eye-catching, custom-branded ﬂipbooks. All were effective.
Guerilla Public Relations Tactics Guerilla PR is based on the idea of guerilla marketing, except that it’s designed speciﬁcally to generate publicity. It may highlight a product or service or it may advocate a cause or something other than the company’s products or services. With guerilla PR, you examine your company, products, and/or services thoroughly, looking for all sources of publicity. Many forms of publicity are inexpensive; others are free. And the guerilla PR person uses any and all of them to generate exposure.
Drawing the Line Of course, this isn’t meant to suggest that you do what FHM did. Nevertheless, it’s a good example of guerilla public relations - it generated enormous publicity for both the cause and the magazine. The event featured not only in print media but on BBC television, creating quite a controversy, which is part of what FHM was trying to achieve. But you have to be careful with guerilla marketing tactics. They can backﬁre on you, as they did for TV’s Cartoon Network. In January 2007, several guerilla-marketing specialists hung magnetic light displays in and around the city of Boston. The displays were mistaken for possible explosive devices. Several subway stations, bridges, and a portion of Interstate 93 were closed as police examined, removed, and, in some cases, destroyed the devices. The suspicious objects were revealed to be depictions of Mooninites, Ignignokt and Err, characters from the Cartoon Network’s animated television series, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Boston was not happy.
One of the most memorable guerilla public relations tactics involved men’s magazine FHM. In May 1999, a huge (60ft) image of a nude Gail Porter was projected onto the side of the Houses of Parliament in London. Porter was a television presenter who tended to present family-oriented programs. Then she began posing nude in men’s magazines, becoming quite a hit. FHM beamed a nude photo of Porter on the House of Parliament urging people to “Vote Porter.” The magazine wanted to stimulate
While guerilla public relations is ideal for small business tactics, more and more Fortune 500 companies like Nike, Yahoo, General Electric, Sony Ericsson, and Citigroup are using them. That’s because they can be effective, regardless of the product or service you’re offering. So if you don’t have a budget for a traditional public relations program and you’re a small company, don’t despair. Guerilla public relations can help you ﬁght your way out of the jungle.
Additional guerilla marketing tactics include advertising printed directly on another store’s receipts, truck and automotive signs, T-shirts, magnetic light displays (like Lite-Brites), and bluejacking, sending a personal message through bluetooth technology.
. t M a s g y e n e r,
contents LEADERSHIP 4 Motivate Yourself Forever Five Surefire Ways To Stay Inspired
INSPIRATION 8 No More Procrastinating! Get It Done…Now.
That’s Billion With a B!
4 Traits of the Super Wealthy
ENTREPRENEURSHIP 12 Is Franchising Right For You? If McDonald’s Can Do It…
TECHNOLOGY 15 Find The Best Computer
RAM, Hard Drives & Gigabytes, Oh My!
FEATURE 16 The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
How One Guy Is Changing The E-Game…For Good
INPOWERMENTALS 21 You’re Hired!
How To Find The Right Employees… And Keep Them
INTERNET 26 eBay Your Way To Millions Online Auction Sites Help Students Thrive
pg.16 Michael Michalowicz papers the country with a new entrepreneurial message.
Get involved this holiday season. You don't have to be famous to make a difference but here's how some celebrities are making their mark in the world. The Children's Health Fund Paul Simon, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Michael J. Fox
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International Mary Tyler Moore
Lance Armstrong Foundation Lance Armstrong
New York Restoration Project Bette Midler
The Larry King Cardiac Foundation: Larry King
The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund: Paul Newman, Julia Roberts
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Christopher Reeve Collegepreneur.com
Am I Dyslexic? How To Get Past The Labels and Learn Your Way By R.M. Richards Dyslexia has been described as a difficulty in processing information and may be linked to deficiencies in short-term memory and visual coordination. It is an inherent weakness in shortterm memory, that is either auditory or visual, which makes it extremely difficult for the affected person to learn and understand the relation between symbols and spoken sounds. This difficulty causes the person to be unable to correctly speak the correct flow of auditory sounds needed to make a word or sentence sound proper.
What Causes Adult Dyslexia? Most research has concentrated on seeking to explain the cause of dyslexia, however this has proved to be somewhat futile. Neurological research suggests that there may be some abnormality in the function of the left side of the brain which controls the speech system, whereas cognitive research in recent years has increasingly focused on problems of phonological awareness (the awareness of the speech sounds within words), and there has been speculation that these problems may be associated with a specific area of the brain. One thing that is conclusive however, is that the cause of dyslexia does center around a disconnect in the brain that prevents a person from correctly recognizing the right speech pattern.
What Are The Symptoms Of Adult Dyslexia? Dyslexia can present itself in many ways and it’s more than likely that all the following symptoms will not present themselves within one individual. Here are a few. 6
■ A difference between academic achievement and real-life performance in practical problemsolving and verbal skills. ■ Taking an inordinate amount of time to read a book and finish it. ■ Missing endings of words in read and spelling. ■ Not being able to think what to write. ■ Reluctance to write things down, such as messages. ■ Confusing telephone messages. ■ Difficulty with note-taking. ■ Difficulty in following what others are saying. ■ Difficulty with sequences or verbal patterns. ■ Reversing figures or letters or leaving words out. ■ Problems with time management. ■ Trouble with remembering tables. ■ Difficulty with mental math.
Given these findings, dyslexic people are often gifted in visually-based skills such as art, sculpture, design, architecture and engineering. Typically we see people that have diminished verbal or language skills or ability have a higher plain of logic and reasoning. Again all of these symptoms will not present themselves typically within one individual but if several of these symptoms apply to you, you should consider testing.
7 Steps To Achieving Your Goals 1 Realize your
Potential: In order to succeed at anything, you need to see that you have the potential to reach your goals. For example, if you want to be a recording artist but have no singing ability, having success in this field is not impossible, but not likely in the short-term. However, if you love working on cars and have a real talent for fixing engines and transmissions, and to you, success would mean working for NASCAR, you have potential to learn and achieve that success.
2 Don’t Look Back:
Most people want to be successful in life. They’ve set their goals but the real work comes from making those dreams a reality. First, ask yourself what success means to you. For example, a person that owns their own oil changing service for vehicles might set their level of success at servicing 50 cars a day while someone who loves music might consider success as cutting their own CD. Of course, success does not always involve money. Success could be getting a good grade in a difficult class, or acing a test or getting your laundry done before it touches the ceiling in your dorm room.
Everyone has failures or mistakes from the past. To have success, you need to learn from your past and value those difficult lessons, but do not dwell on the past. Simply move forward and make better, more educated decisions from the lessons learned.
Dare to Dream: To succeed, you need to have dreams and aspirations. Be honest with yourself as to what you want out of life and what you want to give of your life. Allow your mind to dream and think big.
4 Create a Business
plan: Plan as your very first step if you are planning to build a business. Whether you will be searching for investors or not, this plan will be the blueprint to your success. The Business Plan will consist of market trends, financial planning, competitive analysis, exit strategies, marketing and promotional options,
everything about your goal. When going before an investor, you will be required to have a Business Plan. This is by far the most important document of all. If your success were something personal, you would not need to create a Business Plan although a project plan would be a good option to allow you to keep track of everything involving your goal.
5 Don’t Give Up: To
reach success, you have to persevere. Even Thomas Edison had to learn this. When he was creating the incandescent light bulb, it took him more than 10,000 tries to get it right. Keep striving even when it becomes challenging.
Have an Unstoppable Attitude: You need to have determination. With good intentions, there may be a close friend or family member who feels it would be better if you focused your attention in another direction. Uphold your unstoppable attitude, determine to succeed.
7 Stop the
Complaining: You might think there is no correlation between complaining and success when in fact there is a distinct connection. When you are spending time complaining about the obstacles you are facing, you are wasting so much time being negative that you are actually losing chances to move forward. Instead of thinking of challenges as problems, think of them as opportunities. Collegepreneur.com
Inside this issue
Fr an Har r is , Ph.D.
Founder, Publisher, Editor-In-Chief
If you’ve ever watched CNBC’s hit show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, then you’ve probably seen our cover story guy a few times. Mike Michalowicz is an entrepreneur after our own heart. He doesn't take himself too seriously yet he's a serious entrepreneur if we've ever met one. So, you'll enjoy reading about him. We've also sprinkled this issue with some unusual suspects, topics such as dyslexia, franchising and even junk mail. So, grab your blanket or your latte and enjoy our 1st anniversary with us.
Will you help us continue to improve Collegepreneur and serve you better by taking this quick survey? What’s your age range? ❏ 15 or under ❏ 16 – 19 ❏ 20 – 25 ❏ 26 + Gender ❏ Female
Are you… (check all that apply) ❏ College Student ❏ High School Student ❏ Working Professional ❏ Owner of company If you’re employed (even part-time or seasonal), what industry do you work in? ____________________ Do you… ❏ Live at home ❏ Live on campus ❏ Live off-campus Are you a Collegepreneur subscriber? ❏ Yes ❏ No
What topics are you interested in? ❏ Affordable advertising ❏ Effective Selling tips ❏ How to get free publicity ❏ Technology advances & updates ❏ How to make money online ❏ New gadgets ❏ Events for young entrepreneurs ❏ Internship opportunities ❏ Mentoring opportunities ❏ Work From Home Opportunities ❏ Franchising Other __________________ Your Zip Code __________ You can also take this survey online at CollegepreneurSurvey.com
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Elyse Anderson Debra Nixon, Ph.D. Tracy Bing Lance Paul Leland Clark Nancy Pierce Ron E. Harris R.M. Richards Lisa Haley Jen Groover V.J. Jones Oscar Sweet Rob Mack Mike Toosby J.T. McCullough Kyle Vanzandt Trace Nelson Art Director Veronica Sirotin Design Services Veronicas Graphics Editorial Services Karen Medlock Stock Imagery 123rf.com Advertising, Sales & Business Development Fran Harris Enterprises, LLC 5600 W. Lovers Ln, #116-190 Dallas, Texas 75209 p. (214) 260-7742 f. (866) 846-4908 Editorial Offices 5600 W. Lovers Ln, #116-190 Dallas, Texas 75209 p. (214) 260-7742 f. (866) 846-4908 Subscriptions To subscribe, renew your subscription, or buy gift subscriptions, call (214) 260-7742 or visit www.Collegepreneur.com Write For Us Go to www.writeforcollegepreneur.com for details! Employment Opportunities We’re always looking for reliable and creative players to add to our team. Send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you! All general inquiries, praise, flowers, kudos, feedback and suggestions should be emailed to email@example.com Reprints & Permissions To order reprints of any article or to get permission to reproduce an article appearing in Collegepreneur, call (214) 260-7742 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Collegepreneur.com
ou’d have to be in a coma to have not heard the old adage, “Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today”? It’s a simple question that challenges us to get things done sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, most of us ignore this good advice. But why? Why do we truly love procrastination that much? Is it because we fear success? Or is it that we fear failure? Or is it a third option: we enjoy the drama associated with getting things done under extreme circumstances?
In other words, it’s much more fun to say that you beat the clock; that you only had 31 minutes to write a paper and by golly ‘you made it just under the wire’, than it is to complete the same paper in the 4-week time frame allotted, right? The first story sounds much more exciting. And perhaps that’s why we procrastinate. To be able to paint ourselves as these daring individuals who can operate under the gun and still escape the bullet. Be careful, though. One day, you could misfire.
✽ How to Motivate Yourself Forever a car, or a vacation you have been looking forward to for the longest time. Keep an image of it around you.
Just as willpower is an essential factor in achieving success, at some point in time, discouragement and lack of motivation may hinder you from reaching your objective. And it’s up to you, and you alone to drive yourself to a positive place. Make Your Goals Visual. It may be something material like
Make a Contract With Yourself. According to motivational research, people who write down to-do-lists are far more triumphant in achieving their intended goals than those people who just keep mental lists instead. Fire Dream Stealers. Abusive people lower your self-esteem and bring you down. Get these negative people out of your life. Surround yourself with positive people. Imitate their example.
Smile amply and focus on the good around you. Laugh Often. In the movie,Steel Magnolias, country western singing sensation, -Dolly Parton-, exclaims, “Smilllllle, it increases your face value.” And she’s right. Read & Listen To Inspirational Books and Audio. These will help you to improve your attitude and heal your mind. You’ll not only learn from others’ experiences and derive confidence boosting insights from them but you’ll also be reminded of what’s possible for your life.
By Rob Mack
The meek might inherit the earth but the organized will keep it running smoothly. As the winter break approaches you might find yourself getting overwhelmed. Donít worry. Getting organized isn't that daunting a task when you follow these quick tips. 10
By Leland Clark
❶ Jot it down. ❷ Keep it all in one place. ❸ Use a digital recorder to capture ❹ ❺
thoughts. Use sticky notes. Use timers and alarms.
That’s Billion with a “B” How To Think Like A Billionaire In our studies of world billionaires and how they became wealthy,
we’ve noticed many traits that many billionaires in general have in common. So if you’re looking to make your first billion, take notes. By Oscar Sweet Have a dream. The vast majority of billionaires in the world are all self-made. Most of them were born middle-class or lower and a few started out in poverty. Without exception, every self-made billionaire had a dream, an idea, a vision, or a plan and they stuck to it. They failed first, but they tried again. They failed ten times, but they kept trying. Some of them stuck to the same idea for forty years or more before they had success, but they eventually succeeded.
Never be satisfied. The movie “Scarface” is a unique story because the plot revolves around the lead character never developing. Al Pacino’s character
ends the movie as the same low-class street hustler that he was when he started smoking $100 dollar cigars in a hot tub in a mansion. Without the “say hello to my little friend” and the dying part, lots of billionaires are like that, too. They decide that they can never be too rich, and they just start making money and never stop. Make other people listen to you. Without a doubt, all self-made billionaires have powerful instincts. The problem with instinct is that it’s hard to argue with other people when they doubt you. A hunch is your brain telling you something without bothering to explain the details to you. That’s hard to explain to somebody else. Follow
your instinct, and when others question your plan, just say “I’m following my instinct! You should follow it, too!” Sell cheap. The cheapest price often wins the sale. Many of the world’s billionaire entrepreneurs based their business success on selling their product cheaper than anybody else. How simple, and yet many, many penny profits amounted to billions of dollars over time. You can’t argue with a price that’s a dollar less than any other price. We’ll share more Billionaire traits in the next issue. Stay tuned. Collegepreneur.com
Is it rude to text someone and break up with them?
Should you be typing an email while you're on a call with your Mom? Should you be talking on your cell phone in the restaurant?
recently received a text message from someone I’d met through a mutual business acquaintance. He was a guy that I respected on many levels. A guy who’d done some innovative things in the business world and as far as I could tell, was a decent, standup kinda guy. We’d even talked about doing some joint ventures together, so it wasn’t unusual for me to get a text from him. However, it was the nature of his text that prompted me to make this my rant for this issue.
The text read something like this: “It’s been a year since I’ve heard from you, I want a refund.” This individual was referring to an event he’d gotten as a bonus to a product he’d bought from me. Not only was the content of his text in error (he had actually heard from me and in fact, quite recently) but I sensed there was something more to this mystery text. So, instead of firing off a text back to him, I called him on the phone and left a message for him to call me.
What happened next, honestly blew my mind. When he returned my call he was quite annoyed and very unkind. And although he insisted that his anger centered around “buying something he hadn’t received”, I couldn’t believe that he was laying all of his cards on the table, it just didn’t add up. So I delved a bit deeper. Sure enough there was another layer to his belligerence. Some injustice that he insisted I had committed toward him that when the dust settled, wasn’t actually happening. After asking him repeatedly why he didn’t reach out to discuss the matter, I assured him that my company would take care of the misunderstanding and wished him well.
It's all inside! Get your copy of Where Are Your Manners? at FranHarrisStore.com
Now, I don’t share that story to trash this guy. I’m sure he feels completely justified in his behavior. I share this story to remind you of one thing: how we treat people in business and in life is really paramount to anything else. Technology is a sorry excuse for communicating serious issues. Never text or email someone news that should be delivered either in person or via a live telephone call. It’s just not cool. It’s not cool for me to do it, and it’s not cool for you to do it. Sure, it would be a lot less painful or awkward to shoot off a cruel email or text, but is it the right thing to do? Never. And it’s really quite slimy and small. Pick up the phone. Schedule a face-to-face. But don’t cyber or techno-bully people in the name of convenience. Remember, the hard thing to do and the right thing to do are almost always the same thing.
Fran Harris, Ph.D. 12
By Lisa Haley
By Elyse Anderson
How To Ace Your Exams When it comes to exams, are you in the habit of leaving everything until the final day for a lastminute dash through your textbooks? Do you cram your head with factoids, planning to walk into the examination room and perform a memory dump? The good news is that you are not a lost cause -- after all, some students do not study at all, last minute or otherwise. The bad news is that – as your second grade teacher would say – you’re not getting the most out of your education. And since you’re paying a hefty penny to go to school, you may as well squeeze all the juice you can out of that orange! First, let’s be real. You and I know that there are many wasted time slots
throughout your day. An example might be the journey home on the bus, assuming you’re a commuter. Is it feasible to go over your class notes during the ride? Maybe. The second suggestion arises from the observation that we easily do whatever we find enjoyable. After all, there’ll probably never be such a thing as the last-minute pizza pig-out or the last-minute purchase of the latest album from your favorite band. And while it’s not likely that you’re going to feel about Chemistry the way you feel about pizza,
the point is to find something enjoyable about your studies and you’ll likely study more, or more effectively. The third and final suggestion is to visualize success. Close your eyes and see yourself getting a good grade in your class. How will you feel? Will you jump for joy or smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean? Will you scream at the top of your lungs? How will you celebrate? Focus on what you want and let that be the motivation to put in the time needed to see your visualization through to reality.
Here’s what's great about what you’re about to read. It will change your life. Wait, wait, I know. It’s a tall order but just hear me out. You see, entrepreneurship isn’t just about staritng a business. It’s about innovation. And you can innovate anywhere. A good place to start is in the classroom. If you look at the world’s most notable entrepreneurs, they all share these qualities. Take responsibility for their lives You’re in college to learn and get a degree. If you fail at either of those, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. It’s not your professor’s fault. It’s not your parent’s fault. It’s not your advisotr’s fault. Look in the mirror. That’s the person to blame. Ask A Lot of Questions Never enter a classrom or learning setting without questions. Even if you don’t get to ask them, having them ready will enhance your expeireince. Seek Help Before You Need It If you get too far behind in class you may not be able to recover. As soon as you think you’re in danger, reach out to a mentor, friend or counselor. Know You’ve Got The Stuff Successful entrepreneurs possess extraordinary confidence, not necessarily arrogance. They believe in their ability to get things done. So, whether you’re faced with a tough mid-term or a start-up buisness challenge, belief is the key. Collegepreneur.com
A social entrepreneur identifies and solves social problems on a large scale. Just as business entrepreneurs create and transform whole industries, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss in order to improve systems, invent and disseminate new approaches and advance sustainable solutions that create social value. (source: pbs.org) We tend to automatically think of entrepreneurs only in the business arena but our country’s also been shaped by the efforts of social entrepreneurs like these… Susan B. Anthony was a staunch Women’s right’s activist and one of founders of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Martin Luther King, Jr. died for what he believed in: that people should have equal rights. Becca Robison (age 16) owns a company, AstroTots, whose mission is to encourage and inspire girls ages 4-10 to explore the exciting world of science & math.
Just Ask ‘Em
If you want to know what your customers want, give them a forum for feedback. Some of your best ideas for improvement and innovation will come from the people who use your products or services.
Create Your Own Software You don’t need to be a programmer to create an award winning piece of software. You can go to sites like RentACoder.com or Guru.com and hire someone to do it for you. Be sure to get them to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. And always state that the final product belongs to you.
Is Your Business “Franchisable”? With over 31,000 locations worldwide, McDonald’s will easily go down in history as one of this country’s most notable franchises. Can you duplicate the same level of success with your business? Maybe. Here’s a quick checklist. ■ Do you have a proven system? ■ Is your concept unique? ■ Can the system be duplicated easily – and taught by a 5th grader? ■ Can the business’ returns keep franchisees excited and motivated? If your venture meets the above criteria, then it may be a solid candidate for franchising. Go to www.franchising.com for additional insights and opportunities. 14
Vrrrrrrrrooooooooommm! 5 Ways To Get Your Computer To Go Faster By Lance Paul 1. Defragment Your Hard Drive Over time, the data on your hard drive gets scattered. Defragmenting it will clear the passageways and increase speed.
system’s performance. A good antivirus program will run you anywhere from $27 to $97 or more.
2. Scan Your Hard Disk Windows provides a utility called ScanDisk that will automatically detect and fix a lot of any existing damage, improving your system’s performance in the process. There are several options for MAC users at Pure-Mac.com under the Diagnostics link. 3. Scan for Viruses Viruses can wreak havoc on your computer. Detecting and cleaning viruses is an excellent way to improve your
4. Check for Spyware and Adware Spyware is software that allows companies to monitor the websites you visit. Adware is software that displays advertisements. Both use your system’s resources and slow your computer down. Find and remove them. 5. Uninstall Unnecessary Programs You’d be surprised how many programs are hanging out on your hard drive that you don’t need and don’t use. Removing them will increase your system’s performance. Remember, you need to uninstall them – deleting them won’t cut it.
Blogging Commandments Most blogging sins are easy to avoid, and even easier not to commit in the first place.
Commandment #1: Thou shalt stick to the topic Blogs are designed around a theme – and the more focused the theme, the more likely you’ll attract interested traffic. Most new bloggers however either ‘cast around’ for a theme, hoping to hit on something that works. Commandment #2: Thou shalt drive traffic Unfortunately, most people think that ‘if
they build it, they will come’ and that’s simply not true. You can participate in forums and use your url in your signature line. Comment on other blogs, or bookmark your site. With wide exposure you’ll gain far more traffic than simply relying on SEO. Commandment #3:
Thou shalt connect with others in your niche One of the best ways to do this is ‘mutually’ recommend one another’s sites. That way, you’ll build a more valuable ‘link base’ for the person you’re reviewing,
and though they are creating a two way link exchange with you, the review style link exchange is always more valuable.
Commandment #4: Thou shalt update regularly Blogging needs just as much attention as any other site, sometimes more so – and like most sites, unless you hit on something really big, you’ll find that you don’t make much of an impact at first. No matter which mistakes bloggers make, there’s always a way to fix them. And the answer’s usually right at your fingertips.
Which is more important, Loyalty or Integrity? 16
D A M
Digital asset management or DAM for short, consists of annotating, cataloging, ingesting, storing and retrieving of digital assets such as videos, photographs, animation and music using various hardware and software systems. It also refers to the archiving, backing up, downloading, exporting, grouping, maintaining, optimizing, rating and thinning of these files. You can store your assets on CD, DVD, flash or external hard drives. There are companies online that will store your assets for you for free or a small fee.
Each year we’re faced with dilemmas that challenge us to do the right thing. Is there a clear answer to this question or does it depend on the situation? Search your own soul on this one. Winter 2009
Should I Put A Gig in my
Ram? By Elyse Anderson
Today’s processors are laser fast. Your computer’s CPU or central processing unit, is considered the brains of the computer. It’s where most calculations take place. Recommended: 2 Ghz minimum Memory: RAM or random access memory will affect the speed of your computer so you want to make sure you have ample if you’re a heavy user. Recommended: 512 MB minimum
Computer Shopping Made Easy The computer on your desk slices and dices but is it what you really need? In order to answer this question, you must ask yourself a simple question: What am I going to do with my new computer? Should I buy an Apple or a PC? Shopping for a computer can be very stressful. And you should never buy a computer at retail. It doesn’t make sense with so many great deals on the Internet.
Even if you plan to buy at the local electronics store, do your research online and take those deals to your retail outlet to see if they’ll match the deal you found on the Net. The main areas to consider when shopping for a computer are: speed, memory, storage and functionality. Speed: There’s no excuse for a computer that moves like a turtle.
You Got Game?
Videos Stand The Test of Times If you’ve ever dreamed of creating your own video games for a living, then consider an education in game production or better yet, teach yourself. With all the online educational tools available, there’s no reason you can’t become the next Sony Playstation. There are a couple of ways to approach building your empire. Unlike most people who’d tell you to study the competition first, we recommend that you
start with the end in mind. Design your packaging. What will it look like? What kind of pictures will you use? Will the words describing the game sizzle like a steak or lay flat like a dead fish? After you’ve created the marketing packaging, you can always go backwards and create the game because there’s a good chance you already know what kind of game you
Hard Drive: Some applications take up a lot of space on your computer so be sure you have a nice size hard drive. Recommended: 80 - 120 gigabytes minimum Functionality: Why are you buying the computer? If you’re going to use it primarily for word processing, there’s no need to invest in the heavy media packages often offered by retail salespeople. If you’re a big audio and video user, then be sure to get a great sound card and killer speakers.
want to create. If another company’s already designing games like yours, study their platform and take notes about what yours will do better or differently. The video games industry is roughly 30 years old, although the trade hasn’t necessarily been documenting activity for that long. The Entertainment Software Association says that video game revenues contributed approximately $3.8 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2006.
But is the industry recession proof? Some would liken video games to the film business, asserting that during tough times people still want to be entertained. If you think you’d like to pursue video games production via traditional educational outlets, one online option might be DeVry University’s Bachelor’s Degree in Game & Simulation Programming. Their website (along with other institutions like it) offers to send you a free information package about their programs and courses. Collegepreneur.com
How One Unlikely Entrepreneur Is Changing The Game For Rookies By Fran Harris, Ph.D.
A Virginia Tech alum with lofty corporate aspirations, Michael Michalowicz didn’t see himself living the Great Entrepreneurial Dream. “I was planning to work for a large company like an Enron or Lehman Brothers. 18
In fact I landed an interview with accounting firm Arthur Andersen and felt like my life was right on track. They rejected me in the final stages of interviewing and I was devastated,” said Michalowicz.
eeling down but not completely out, he took a job with a computer company though he admits he wasn’t really happy. “One night I went out for drinks with a co-worker,” remembers Michalowicz. “We started brainstorming about ideas for businesses.” Ten beers later he found himself slurring things like, ‘We don’t need the man’, ‘I’m not working for the man’ and ‘Screw the man!’!
The next day he resigned from his corporate cubicle. With no known entrepreneurial blood running through his veins, or so he thought, Michalowicz started Olmec Systems, Inc., a regional computer network integrator that he sold in 2002 through a private transaction.
That’s the question most entrepreneurs thrive on. I had gotten to the place in my life that I simply wanted to find something that was personally more satisfying,” said Michalowicz, who’s married with three children. “I wanted to be inspired by something other than money.” That inspiration appeared one day on a college campus. “I told this group of college students that I was writing a new book and that I was going to call it “Launch”. They threw tomatoes at me,” laughed Michalowicz. “I told them that most of us treat our entrepreneurial dreams like we do our bathroom activities. We do things in there that we’d never share with anyone but yet we all know that we’re all doing it.” In response to the book’s title, a student asked a simple question: Why don’t you name your book the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur? And so he did.
Rewind about 30 years and this start-up story becomes even more remarkable. “I’m the antithesis of an entrepreneur. My father worked for one company all his life. Mom was a homemaker and I never even had my own paper route,” he said.
“I told this group of college students that I was writing a new book and that I was going to call it “Launch”. They threw tomatoes at me.”
So what would make Michalowicz think he could succeed as a solopreneur? “Colonel Sanders (of KFC fame) was 65 when he recognized his entrepreneurial potential. It’s in all of us. It doesn’t matter when it hits,” he said. For Michalowicz the e-bug hit like a blow from a heavy weight champion. After he sold Olmec Systems he discovered a gaping hole in the computer crimes industry. The day after he signed the agreement for his partner to buy him out of Olmec, he started PG Lewis & Associates, LLC, which provides data forensic services and specializes in corporate investigations and litigation support in civil and criminal matters. You guessed it. Michalowicz grew that company and sold it for millions – without ever investing one single, solitary dollar into the company. “After I sold my second company I went on a long vacation to Hawaii and started asking myself some important questions. “What would make me happy regardless of the money?” He admits to being addicted to the pace at which many entrepreneurs travel. “How can I make as much money as possible as fast as possible?
Michalowicz’s recent entrepreneurial gem, Obscidian Launch, grew from that fateful college speaking engagement. Today the company helps new businesses by taking a mentoring role (and equity stake) in the company. The application process is competitive but those who ultimately work with Michalowicz and his team of experts are better for it. “We take no service fees. And when a company reaches Launch Point – when we say they’ve successfully proven they can grow their operations successfully, we return equity and they retain 100% of their company,” he said. Michalowicz is a regular expert on CNBC’s hit show, “The Big Idea” and a popular speaker on the college circuit. When asked what he wishes someone had told him about launching a successful business he replied, “…how f-ing hard it would be “But then again, if I’d known that, I probably wouldn’t have done it.” Yeah, no crap. To submit your own 3-Sheet Stories visit ToiletPaperEntrepreneur.com
Bootstrap It, Baby!
How To Finance Your First (or next) Venture By Nancy Pierce Easy, cowboy. Bootstrapping won’t require any additional liability insurance, but you should be prepared to go on one wild ride if you choose this option of financing your business. Unless you were born with a platinum spoon in your mouth, you’re going to have to go deep into your own pockets to get your venture off the ground. Fortunately, bootstrap financing is one of the best and inexpensive ways to launch a business. Here are some pros and cons. tears. Hopefully less blood than sweat!
The Pros: Since you didn’t secure any outside financing or angel investors, you don’t have to give up pieces of your company. Yippee!
The cons: If the business goes under, you lose everything you put into it.
Without any hefty bank loans you won’t have to fork over any money for high interest payback. Awesome! Whatever your business becomes, it does so because of your blood, sweat and
Without outside investors it may become difficult to raise funding for the next round of your company’s growth. Many bootstrappers may lack business credit history (because they often
put everything on personal credit cards), which makes taking the venture to the next level more challenging. There’s no wrong or right way to get your venture off the ground. Just be sure you’re taking a look at your business from a 30,000foot perspective. Seeing all the potential turbulence. Here’s to a safe landing.
How To Avoid A Suit |Small Business Liability Insurance A Must Owning and operating a small business is exciting but it also comes with its share of risk, responsibility and accountability. Even if you operate with the utmost care and provide the best quality and services, a client can still come after you. Is your business protected with liability insurance? Learn what all successful business owners know about small business liability insurance that you need to know. Over 78% of all U.S. businesses are structured as a partnership or sole 20
proprietorship, according to Bizstats.com. For the majority of small business owners, this form of ownership puts your business and personal liabilities at risk. A simple liability insurance policy protects both your business and personal assets from financial ruin. Business liability insurance protects your company in the event of a lawsuit for personal injury or property damages. It will usually cover the damages from a lawsuit along with the legal costs. Depending on your business needs, liability insurance can be purchased in many forms.
General Liability Insurance: protects your business from injury claims, property damages, and advertising claims.
and protects in the event of a person becoming injured as a result of using the product.
Professional Liability Insurance: protects service providers with a liability insurance known as errors and omissions. This coverage protects your business against malpractice, errors, negligence and omissions. Depending on your profession, it may be a legal requirement to carry such a policy.
A common misconception of a limited liability company (LLC) or an incorporated company is a business owner is protected from personal liability and liability insurance is not necessary. You can be personally liable if: ❍ You have signed a personal guarantee for a loan ❍ You have injured someone ❍ You have acted in an irresponsible or illegal manner ❍ you do not operate your business as a separate entity
Product Liability Insurance is for businesses selling or manufacturing products
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Will That Be Cash, Debit or Credit? A lot of people nowadays, prefer the convenience of purchasing through credit cards. In the United States, nearly 1 in every 3 consumer purchases are paid through credit. It is crucial therefore, for companies to readily accept credit payments to avoid losing sales. No matter what type of enterprise you run, whether it is a small shop, online store or mail order business, having a credit card service for customers will increase your sales. There are a few options to choose when accepting cards. Paypal Sign up for a free account on Paypal.com and you can be receiving payments within a few days. This service currently offers a few levels – Personal, Business, and Premier. Get Your Own Merchant Account An alternative to using Paypal is to get your own merchant account, which would give you the flexibility of accepting credit cards on or offline. How Does Merchant Status Work? Your company must first partner with or submit an application to a 3rd party company or bank to be able to accept credit payments. These banks will work with you to transfer money paid through credit by customers within a day or two of the sale. And although you would input the customer’s information either by swiping their card or typing the information into an online system, the bank will also be responsible for collecting the money from the customer (through their gateway). In return, your company will pay them a usual commission, ranging from 1.5 percent to 5 percent for each transaction. Other fees may include monthly support and equipment rentals. What Do Banks Look For In Companies Applying For Merchant Status? Applying for merchant status may be a process much similar to applying for a loan, as lenders would certainly investigate your overall financial status. Here are some factors that lenders will need to
Protect Thyself! Last year consumers reported fraud losses totaling more than
$1.1 billion 22
consider before granting you merchant status: ➦ Type of Business ➦ Length of Time In Business ➦ Sales Track Record ➦ Credit History In you’re just starting out, establishing a merchant account may seem unnecessary or too much of a hassle at first, however, once you start accepting credit payments, you’ll quickly realize how much it can contribute to improving your company’s overally credibility and profitability.
■ Never give folks your social security ■ Never let someone “borrow” your drivers license ■ Never give someone access to your online financial data such as bank accounts and credit cards
How To Negotiate A Salary
How To Find A Match Made In By Fran Harris, Ph.D.
something that will allow the new hire to get acclimated to your company and team. Designate a length of time for the training and be sure to keep the lines of communication open.
As a business owner, one of your most important tasks is workforce management and leadership. It’s your job to make sure you have the right people-and the right number of people--to keep your company running smoothly. Now let’s say your business is growing and you’re sensing you need to hire new employees. How can you really be sure the time is right to bring in additional staff? There are at least seven common clues: ❶ Got a pulse? You’re hired. That’s the way many managers go about finding personnel for their companies. Don’t make this mistake. A bad hire could not only cost you lots of money but also valuable time
and team morale. Before you start interviewing, make yourself aware of the employment rules and regulations in your area. You don’t want to violate any laws. Then… ➋ Decide on your hiring process. Services such as SurveyMonkey. com allow you to create a webbased employment application and screen applicants in an effective manner. ➌ Write out a 1 to 2-page role description for each job opening. Include any educational or skills requirements needed. ➍ Create an in-house training program. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just
➎ Set up a formal or informal mentoring program. It’s been proven that individuals who are coached and mentored have higher success rates. Even if your mentoring program is a simple once a month gathering of veteran employees and new ones, a little support is better than none at all. ➏ Publish an operations manual. What if something happened to you? How would your company continue? If you have your systems documented, your team can pick up the pieces and continue your great work! ➐ A good leader knows that the fate of his business will rest solely on his ability to get the right people in the right jobs at the right time.
Okay, so you haven’t started your own organization yet but you’re planning to one day, right? For the time being you’re going to work for the big company downtown. The only thing is that you don’t know how to negotiate your salary.
First, the DON’Ts Never tell an employer that another company offered you XYZ? You look like an amateur. If you want to point out the range of salary in the industry for someone with your background, skills, education or experience, that’s fine. Never tell an employer, “I need 15% more than your offer because we just had a new baby.” Even if she doesn’t say it, the employer’s no doubt thinking, “That has nothing to do with anything.” Never tell an employer that you’ll take an offer and then call them a few days later and ask for more money. Again, bad form. Don’t do it. Either ask for more time to consider the offer from the start or you’re going to have to stick with the offer you accepted.
Now, on to the Dos Ask when you’ll be eligible for an increase. This will put a tiny bug in the employer’s ear that you will be back in his office to talk money soon. Ask what the top of the range is for people in your pay grade. This is critical information for you to know before you get into a dead end job. Ask if you can have a little more time to think about the offer (even if you know it’s a good offer). Never appear too eager to accept the first offer you hear. Go away and seriously weigh the pros and cons, and then call the executive on the phone with a few more questions Collegepreneur.com 23 before you accept.
America The Beautiful By Debra Nixon, Ph.D.
y the time this article gets into your hands, America will have elected a new President. I hope that She will not have missed another opportunity to be what She has proclaimed for well over 200 years— the land of opportunity; the land of the free and the home of the brave; a Christian nation. Now, the Africans -- brought to this country in chains, and the indigenous people -- the only true natives of this land -might question Her integrity, as their experiences on these shores have not reflected (for the most part) these glorious virtues. No doubt, other people of color: Asians and Latino; and other oppressed and/or marginalized groups: gays and lesbians, women, and the physically challenged have, on more than a few occasions, taken this country to task for Her lack of sensitivity. But America had another chance to demonstrate the heart of Her values, and perhaps “the content of Her character.” The world was watching; we were all watching;
hoping that we’d been wrong that America was capable of learning from Her past. On November 4, 2008, America rose above herself to live up to, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once
songs penned to capture the spirit of this country may ring truer today than when they were first put to paper. Lyrics such as “God bless America, land that I love.” Words
Lyrics such as “God bless America, land that I love.” Words such as “What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.”
proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” She elected Her first self-identifying black President. Some are (still) shocked. Some because they never dreamed it possible. Others perhaps because they dreaded this day. One very clear indication of the change comes from a young Seminole historian in South Florida who reported that President - Elect Barrack Obama is the only U.S. President to visit the Reservation. Take a minute to absorb the importance of his words. If he is correct, then the
such as “What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.” And finally the proclamation, “This land was made for you and me” seem now to have renewed meaningwell, at least for those of us who have longed to sing them with a singleness of heart. Freedom finally rings. Dr. Debra Nixon is a licensed family therapist and associate professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She’s a women’s advocate who speaks internationally on diversity.
Should You Invest $20? It may not sound like a lot of cheese but don’t diss your Andrew Jacksons just yet. That same $20 that you might spend on a CD or a quick lunch could also buy you stock in a multi-billion dollar company.
We’re not going to tell you “where” to put your money, we’re simply suggesting that you give investing a shot. Here are some ways to get started.
Consider mutual funds. A mutual fund pools money from hundreds and thousands of investors to create a portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate, or other securities. Each investor in the fund gets a slice of the total pie.
Although people typically tout mutual funds as “low entry” they aren’t necessarily always low-cost investments. Many of them charge one-time “load fees” to new purchasers that can exceed 5 percent of the investment. Another way to start small is through Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRPs), also known as
Drips. They allow you to bypass brokers (and their commissions) by buying stock directly from the companies or their agents.
More than 1,000 major corporations offer these types of stock plans, many of them free. Drips may be ideal for those who are starting out with small amounts to invest and want to make frequent purchases (dollar-cost averaging). Once you’re in the plan, you can also set up an automatic payment plan. Plus, in some cases you won’t have to buy a full share each time you make a contribution.
What you don't know could hurt you. The 3 major credit reporting agencies will give you a FREE copy of your credit report once a year. Here is how to contact them.
Is consolidating credit card debt a good option?
Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc Address: P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374 Telephone: 1.888.766.0008 Online: www.equifax.com
credit card debt
By Trace Nelson
Well, the answer will more often be yes than no. Consolidating credit card debt is often regarded as the first step towards credit card debt elimination. However, even before you move to take the first step towards consolidating credit card debt, you must understand that consolidating credit card debt (or balance transfer) is an action that you are taking to
eliminate credit card debt. Consolidating credit card debt is not a means of deferring the problem for later. The bottom line is that if you choose to roll perhaps your student loan and credit card debt into one consolidated loan, stay disciplined. Invest or save the extra cash or better yet -- pay off other debts.
TransUnion LLC Consumer Disclosure Center Address: P.O. Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022 Telephone: 1.800.888.4213 Online: www.tuc.com Experian National Consumer Assistance Center Address: PO Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013 Telephone: 1.888.397.3742 Online: www.experian.com Collegepreneur.com
Is There A Book in You?
You can thank the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series for this new shift in paradigm. The co-authors, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, got rejected by more than a dozen publishers before a small publisher agreed to take a chance on them and their “wacky” idea for a book about stories.
Ten years ago if you told someone you were going to self-publish your own book they would have looked at you like you’d grown an extra ear. Today, selfpublishing is not only acceptable, in some cases it’s actually more desirable than traditional publishing through a major New York house.
To date, sales from Chicken Soup for the Soul branded merchandise (including books) have exceeded a billion dollars. But more importantly, the tenacity of Hansen and Canfield shows that if you’ve got a book in you, nobody should stop you from getting it out there!
Produce Your First Movie
Got a camera. Got an idea?
into a movie after actress Rita Wilson saw the play and recommended it to her husband and producing partner, Tom Hanks. The movie won an Academy award for Best Screenplay, which Vardalos wrote.
hen you’ve got a movie. Each year Hollyweird churns out over 100 films, some of them even watchable. So, if you’ve got dreams of seeing your name rolling in the credits on the big screen one day, what are you waiting on? These filmpreneurs didn’t let anything get in their way!
Tyler Perry survived abuse at the hands of his own father 26
for many years. Ultimately, he poured that pain into his pen, and started writing plays. Those plays led to a mega-successful film and television career. To date, the DVD sales from his plays alone have grossed over $75 million dollars. Hard to believe that less than 10 years ago he was homeless. Nia Vardalos’ onewoman play “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was turned
Spike Lee made his critically acclaimed first film “She’s Gotta Have It” for approximately $150,000. It grossed over $7 million. Since then Lee’s directed more than a dozen films and is considered one of the most innovative filmmakers of the 21st century. For more information on how to launch your filmmaking career, visit ProduceYourFirstFilm. com.
➦ Decide on a topic or idea ➦ Check Amazon.com to see what kinds of books have been written about your topic ➦ Write your “What Makes My Book Different” statement ➦ Write an outline of chapters ➦ Write a list of questions and get a friend to interview you on your chapter contents ➦ Transcribe, edit and polish the interview ➦ Convert it to a PDF (portable document format) ➦ Sell it as an ebook or visit 48hourbooks.com to get it in print ➦ That’s it. You’re on your way to becoming a published author!
FRANCHiLD... The Place For TM
College Students To Begin Their First Biz!
Hey College students! Whatâ€™s all the buzz about? Looking for a way to earn extra money... ever consider starting your own business? How about owning your own franchise?
With FranChild you can open retail accounts on campus or in your home town. Create your own brands of products and place them in stores, or create private label products for any clothing, retail, gift or specialty shop. Maybe it's time to start your own campus store!
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Get Started Today for $25! We take the STING out of starting your first business! "Franchild embraces the concepts and practices that we teach in our Junior Achievement programs. This is a clear homerun!" Cecilia St. Arnold Program Director Junior Achievement of SWFL
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"I like the model because it offers the advantage of any franchise-a turnkey business with all of the basic structure and systems already in place." Jeffrey Cornwall, D.B.A. Belmont University Collegepreneur.com
Your Way Through College You heard about the guy or girl who was struggling to pay off student loans and decided on a whim to sell their old clothes on eBay? No? Well, you will. Every day someone adds another thousand dollars to their bank account on The Great eBay. Which leads us to ask one question: are you getting your share of eBay riches? Several online trade publications report that… ■ The site averages more than 1 billion page views per day ■ Users trade about $1,700 worth of goods on the site every second ■ A vehicle sells every minute ■ Diamond jewelry sells every 2 minutes ■ The site currently has over 200 million registered users
Here are just a few of the items you can sell in the eBay Marketplace. Old DVDs and CDs Textbooks Sports memorabilia Jewelry Your class notes Online video courses
And according to BusinessWeek, New York state brought in about $658,000 in online surplus sales through eBay during the 2008-09 fiscal year that will end March 31. Whether you’re starting a brand-new business or just looking for ways to grow an existing operation, you can do it on eBay. And the great news is that you don’t need any business experience to succeed. There’s plenty of online help and support, and you can even start small. How do you get started? Go to eBay.com and sign up for a free account. The interface is simple and the fees for selling are very reasonable. By the way, don’t stop with eBay auctions, there are also some great rival sites such as uBid.com and Bidz.com.
My ebay Success Story
we’d sold almost $10,000 worth of items. And nearly half of those sales were my items, including a half-day of business coaching with me.
was so tired of hearing about all this money people were making on eBay so a few years ago I decided to sell some of my own stuff. When we initially set up my store, nothing happened and I had to wonder what was going on. My CDs and DVDs are top notch, I thought. Why aren’t the fish biting? I soon took the items down and decided to do a little more studying.
So, what was the difference the second time around? Traffic. The first time my company listed items, nobody even knew my stuff was on eBay! The second time out, thousands of people were notified by email and there was a rush of traffic and tons of exciting auctions.
A year later I got an opportunity to joint venture with someone to raise money for a charity. A group of us contributed items in the personal development arena. In less than a week
The moral of the story is “nobody will know you’re out there, if you don’t advertise”. You can have the best idea on the planet but unless you make a commitment to
By Fran Harris, Ph.D.
market it, you’ll never know if your little bird can fly on its own.
• Offer fast delivery. We want everything yesterday so ship your items out quickly.
Here are a few other hard knocks eBay tricks I learned.
• Use photos that sell. All images aren’t created equal. If you’re selling a bicycle, folks need to see a great picture of it. Take close ups of the tires and the features, and don’t forget the full body shots!
• It’s all about the description. Use active words but don’t over hype your items. Use words like ‘amazing’ or ‘incredible’ sparingly if at all.
KNOW THE SCORE
Entrepreneurship isnâ€™t just about making money...itâ€™s about making a difference. !
Speaking Volumes The Power of Body Language
Someone once said that body language is really 95% of what we say. Words are only 5%. Think for a few seconds. If you’re around people, stop and look around. Take a moment and observe the people walking by you or sitting at the tables near you. Most of the time, you don’t need to listen to their conversations or ask them what they’re thinking or trying to communicate. Directly or indirectly, everyone's body language speaks louder than words.
Take for example, someone who is sad. You can easily tell by their demeanor that they’re unhappy. Their whole body sulks and they walk about as if a dark cloud follows over them. On the other hand, someone who is happy walks about as if they are sunshine incarnate. They beam with
By Kyle Vanzandt
joy and their body radiates with every step. This is body language at its best.
Understanding basic body language helps one be a better communicator and entrepreneur. If you know what people are saying with their body, you can adjust your presentation for effectiveness. Pay attention to what your body is saying and cue in to what others are saying to you even when their mouths are sealed shut. Here are some cues… 1| Dim eyes often means someone is down or depressed. 2| Eyes that have life in them usually means energy and vibrance.
5| Excessive laughing indicates insecurity.
3| Arms crossed indicates defiance or insecurity.
Remember, what you’re saying with your body is so loud that people will not be able to hear your words.
4| Fidgeting connotes nervousness or anxiety.
Junk Mail Profits
By V.J. Jones
Okay, so you finally dragged yourself away from the latest episode of Punk’D or Pimp My Term Paper to check the mailbox, and for what? The only thing you got was a bunch of “junk mail”, right? Wrong. Direct mail can be a powerful piece of your total marketing puzzle. If it weren’t effective you wouldn’t have a mailbox full of what you consider to be “junk mail.” Now, to be clear, nobody wants to sit in their living room stuffing envelopes and licking stamps all day, but when you consider the potential rewards of direct mail, you might rethink that decision. Sometimes you need a Ph.D. to understand today’s postage and mailing regulations, and standing out in a crowded mailbox is becoming more
A Quick Scenario Postcard design = Free (you did it on your computer) Printing 100 postcards = $11 CD Labels = $25 for the labels from the office supply store CD Duplication = Free if you burned them on your computer Postage @ .27 = $27.00 Mailing List = FREE (you got business cards from folks at an event) Labor = $20 (you bought pizza for your 12-year old brother and his friend who put stamps on your postcards for a few hours) Shipping CDs = .43 In total, you spent less than $100 before you’ve shipped one CD. 30
and more difficult. But it’s not impossible. And if you hit the right prospect on the right day, you just might strike gold. You’re selling a $37 CD about how to succeed in college. Of the 100 postcards mailed, you get 19 orders via your website, or $703. You subtract the expenses totaling $100 and you’re left with $603 before shipping, which will be minimal. That’s a pretty decent return on your investment, wouldn’t you say? Here are 9 direct mail marketing tips to help your message break through the direct mail clutter. • Give something away free • Make your offer a low-brainer • Include testimonials from enthusiastic customers • Offer a free trial to minimize risk • Make the promo piece arresting • Promise many benefits • Test your mailer on at least 20 people • Include a call to action – tell the reader exactly what they should do next • Use a “P.S.” – it’s often the FIRST thing people read
GREAT ACHIEVEMENT COMES FROM FAILING
by Jen Groover I recently spoke at a Leadership Camp for an organization called Learning to Lead. The students ranged anywhere from middle school students to seniors in high school. I was thrilled to see so many students of various ages and backgrounds taking such amazing initiative so early in their lives to try to understand and learn the secrets of true leadership.
“Success can only be achieved through failure and what separates the true success stories from the unheard victories is the ability to not only accept failure but to embrace it.”
While I was speaking, I gave examples of my own success stories along with some great leaders in history. There was a guy sitting and listening intently, especially when I was using guys like Mark Cuban and Pat Croce as great examples of people who had come from “regular” backgrounds and plowed through to great success. After I finished speaking he raised his hand and said, “These are all great stories of people who have had success but what about the people who failed?” I was thrilled that he asked this question because dealing with failure is a reflex so innate in me that I often forget to address it. I explained to him, “Success can only be achieved through failure and what separates the true success stories from the unheard victories is the ability to not only accept failure but to embrace it.” As an entrepreneur, failure can be one of your greatest tools. Learning what doesn’t work and
why it didn’t work can be far more valuable than just hitting a home run right out of the box. And if you do happen to avoid failure early in your entrepreneurial career, relax, a healthy dose will no doubt be making its way down the pike momentarily – that’s assuming you continue to strive and grow. Great leaders, great businessmen, great athletes, and just great human beings in general understand that no gain comes without struggle; and they wouldn’t want it any other way. Where would the joy from accomplishment come from if there weren’t obstacles and hardships to overcome? Great achievers live for and thrive on this fight and failure is just one of the many things that will try to knock you down as you attempt to overcome the odds. We must always remember that everyone gets knocked down but not everyone gets back up. True great leaders get back up time and time again; stronger, wiser, and even more determined—this is where true greatness emerges. Jen Groover is the genius behind The Butler Bag, a handbag she invented to help her get organized as a busy mom. A serial entrepreneur with many patents and trademarks to her name, Jen’s mission is to inspire others to pursue their dreams.