Tag Archives: crowdfunding

Teachers offer lesson plans for pay

Kids in class

Gone are the days when teachers had to fend for themselves to come up with their own lesson plans for the school year. The day-by-day management of classroom course work can create a lot of stress on teachers, especially first-year teachers. Now there are more options than ever with pulling from other teachers who have been doing this a long time. The amazing thing to learn about this new “sharing economy” is that there is a lot of content already available for anyone to pull from and use.

Lesson Plan Creation
If you remember the days of when you went to school you didn’t really think much about the work that was put in front of you except that you had to learn it and turn it in for a grade, which amounted to even more work for the teacher to do, even after they came up with the assignment. As kids you didn’t really think about where that work you did came from because you just wanted to get it over with so you could go back to talking with your friends.

For elementary teachers this process is fairly easy because you have the same students all day long, except for those that rotate for other subjects throughout the day or even week. You can blend your lesson plans together and if one day the students fall behind you can still play catch up with all of them because you know your students so well. That is the nice thing about planning your lessons for younger kids because they were just interested in learning and doing their best and for even most of them getting stars on their charts or golden stickers on their assignments with 100’s made their day so they were happy regardless.

In the middle school and high school range, the challenge with lesson planning gets very complicated because not all classes work at the same rate or level so coming up with new and interesting topics everyday or weeks can be very difficult, especially when you have kids that learn faster or slower than others. In order to reduce the amount of lesson planning that teachers are required to perform many of them break up their semesters into smaller chunks that revolve around certain topics, for example, biology teachers will focus on animal and plant cells for a week or two before moving on to the next level. This is why English teachers assign X number of books a semester because their lesson plans focus on just the content of each book for a few weeks.

Sharing What Your Good At
It should not come as a surprise that teachers have more options than ever in getting support for their classrooms. Infact, there are many new ways that teachers can now support and provide for students just by using crowdfunding sites to help assist the kind of work they want their students to learn with by getting the resources they need. This is very important to the future development of student’s educations because it can mean the difference between one student falling in love with science or another losing interest in math because the lesson plans created just didn’t make sense.

The resource that I’m about to talk about stems from the whole sharing and gig economy model. Many people are learning to become their own entrepreneur using sharing apps to make extra money. It should not come as a surprise that many people who work part or full-time jobs also work for Uber or TaskRabbit in order to make extra money to pay the bills. Now teachers can make money doing what they are good at – Creating Lesson plans. Teachers Pay Teachers is a website that lets teachers browse countless lesson plans and resources that teachers have created and posted for others to buy and download. The great thing about this website is that not only are teachers rated on the content that they create and sell but also that each content item that is posted is also rated for quality assurance from other teachers. This helps people know beforehand whether or not it is worth buying.

There is an app version available on the iPhone and Android market but there are many bugs that need to be worked out and you can not purchase anything on the app, just browse. Once those issues get fixed and people can purchase them with their paypal account then I believe this will be a very powerful app. The website though is still superior to the app because this is content you will want to review on a large screen, not a tiny phone screen. Many lesson plans offer previews so you know that what you are purchasing is worth the price.

The prices range from free all the way up into the hundreds. In many cases the lesson plans that cost more than a $100 are for long periods of time or even workshops of a large magnitude. The most expensive listed items cost in the thousands and not surprising many of them have never been purchased or rated for that very reason. Teacher salaries do not have the flexibility to be able to afford such high cost plans so that is something to consider if you plan to use the service. The range that is most common tends to be from 10 to 40 dollars.

Variety by the Item and Seller
The interesting thing about this website is that it was created with the idea in mind of teachers selling other teachers their lesson plans but now that the site has gotten more popular in recent months, textbook makers and publishing houses that specialize in educational material are now putting all their books and lesson plans and supplemental materials on the website. What makes the website great in the beginning is that it was teachers helping teachers teach better with materials that they perfected and have found that their kids enjoy. Now that large companies are coming in it takes away from the fun.

The variety of what the site offers, in terms of use, is that anyone can focus their search results by many options; subject matter, price, resources, and grade level. The most popular option that people enjoy is the free section of items because it includes tons of free things that teachers can download and use right away. Many of the items include games, charts, posters, and poems. Again this is very useful to any teachers who is looking to fill their students time with productive activities that encourage more of what it is they are learning in class.

In addition to all the custom lesson plans that teachers have created there are also a lot of Common Core items coming up that teachers have created that will help others improve their students scores. In many cases there are posters that highlight important things to know which can help students focus on learning the right material. There are also assessments that can be purchased to help make sure your students are on track to pass.

Success from Selling
This website has been a blessing for many teachers because it means another source of income for teachers. The challenge of course is being able to teach your classes and still put out new content for all your fellow teachers to purchase, especially your group of followers that some tend to create. It is interesting to learn that only 12 teachers have become millionaires using the site with 300 teachers earning in the 6 figure range. These are teachers who know what it means to create lesson plans that are easy to use and understand but also that students will enjoy and get the most out of them but also learning how to price your items correctly.

Just like with any other website that is similar to this, infact the same thing can be done on Amazon or eBay, it all comes down to how well you market what it is you do. There are helpful tips and guidelines provided by the website that explain the importance of using social media to keep your followers updated on new content in your profile. In any case this website is a much needed service for anyone that is a teacher that wants to put their name out there but also build a new stream of income. It doesn’t matter if you teach in a public school or provide private lessons at home anyone who is a teacher in any capacity can use this website to share what it is they are good at.


If you would like to sign up and start selling or just purchase items keep in mind there are three different types of accounts available, two of which are free. If you just want to download free items and purchase things there is a free individual account but if you want to sell items then you can also get one for free but you won’t get a dedicated homepage to your services which is what the third account offers.

News Article

A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win

Using the Power of Crowdfunding Changed this College Student’s Life

Vanderbilt University just recently canceled a student’s financial aid, only for her problems to mount as her father lost his job and her mom committing suicide.  Cassie Wessely knew her only hope was to go online and see if other people’s generosity would help change her situation around. She set up a GoFundMe page and within a few days her worries were gone because so many people understood what she was experiencing. One comment a donor made was how, before the internet, he wrote to many family members asking for money to pay for school and now that he can afford to pay it back he took the chance to do it. He explained how stressful it can be and wanted to do something special.

Wessely’s case is not unusual today as colleges all over are raising tuition rates because of the rising costs they put on themselves. It’s amazing to think the thousands of students every year who have to drop out of school, not because they got kicked out or didn’t pass, but because they couldn’t afford to attend school. When you think about the economic cost that has to the future of this country, colleges should be held liable for those costs but their not and the future of this country will get a worse outcome because of it. Many of the students who cannot afford to attend school end up working in jobs that provide no potential for their skills. This is sad because these students worked hard in high school and after being told all 12 years in school that if you just get good grades then you will be taken care of in college because schools will offer you money to attend. Unfortunately that is not true and really has never been true so why don’t school stop lying to students? It would be great if parents could start getting after schools about that as well.

College Tuition Out of Control
In a recent article I wrote about the number of schools that charge more than $60k a year to attend, it should not surprise you to know that in a couple of years it will be standard for a freshman to be paying more than $100k a year for a BACHELORS degree! So you can imagine what Graduate school will cost. You will literally need to be rich in order to attend college and the future of America will show by the number of students who can not attend because of a financial barrier.

Why the rising costs? Well if you really want to find the reason why, the next time you visit a school of your choice take a look at how much construction is taking place. That is a good indicator of the raising costs. Schools that believe they need to keep building and building each year in order to attract more students increase the costs every year. If you think about it, they are squeezing out the very thing they need in order to support their own projects; students. Many schools tell you that student tuition only pays a small portion of their annual costs and if that was true then tuition doesn’t need to keep going up every year but it actually covers a lot more hence why it keeps going up. When you read the book College Unbound colleges are catering to a market of creating luxury resorts for students to learn at. Why would a school need to build a lazy river around campus? Dry cleaning and maid service for dorms? Are you kidding me? Students need to learn how to live on their own, not learn that they need to pay to have someone clean up after them.

So if they are squeezing out the very thing they need in order to pay for their bills then that will mean in a couple of years all these new buildings they are constructing will be in less than half use since less students will be on campus. Yes, more students are applying to colleges but the part they leave out is the number of students who actually attend. Just because University X got 10k applications and they only accepted 1k does not mean those 1k students could all afford to attend. That is why there is a waiting list, and for many schools, not all of them will meet their acceptance quotas because how can you when so many are unable to afford the bills?

Power of Crowdfunding
Cassie Wessely understood her situation very carefully and for the pressure of her school to just cut her off from financial aid and still think that she can attend is very arrogant of them to do that. Colleges are on this high that because they are a college, or university, people need them if they want to get a high paying job. Well when you have people like Scott Young who can show you how to get an MIT Computer Science education for free, it shakes up the model of thinking that you have to pay a lot of money to get a quality education, which is completely false. Watch his TED TALK here. Here you see that he used all his online resources to get, what would normally be, a very expensive and highly valued education for free. The only cost to him was $2000 dollars for books and supplies, which he could easily have raised online with crowdfunding sites.

When you look at what banks did with student loans and the number of financial aid program directors at many schools who were charged with accepting kickbacks for pushing loans over scholarships it’s no wonder that many students leave school drowning in debt. Banks and Creditors are happy about this because they get to make more money but, as congress is realizing their mistakes now, it is causing an economic downtown because so many young adults are unable to start their life because their student loans keep them from being able to buy a house, a car, save for retirement and invest in the economy. To learn more about the student loan scandal click here.

In order to avoid such a mess Cassie went to GoFundMe and set up an account and sent out the link to all her friends and family members with her facebook account. As of the writing of this article she was able to reach $50k, well past her goal of $25k. In a recent update on her GoFundMe page she said that all the money will be doing towards her next three years at the school. Even though she said she has scholarships and such, her costs at Vanderbilt are far from over, if you look at the page for tuition for the school year 2014-2015 you can see tuition alone is $42,768, which does not include books, extra fees, meals, campus events and more. Chances are she will need to do another campaign later on but the power of bringing people together shows that students are using this service more and more because colleges just don’t get the point that they can not keep raising prices every year. Otherwise only the rich will be able to attend because wages are kept down. I do want to point out that a nice older lady even offered Cassie a free room near her if she ever needed it.

These students are turning to crowdfunding as well from Draper University.
Louis Mikal is trying to raise money to attend school.
Edmilson Rodriguesn created his own platform to raise money for his own projects.
John Scianna is raising money to attend a program of his own. Read more about his story.
Sequoia Blodgett is another who is trying to raise money for college.

All these accounts shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing how the cost to attend college is getting out of reach for so many. If you were to meet all the students every year who have to give up their dream school because they couldn’t afford it to attend a more affordable school, you would spend the rest of your life meeting them.

If you want to find out what other sites are available for raising money for school you can use these.
Pave
GradSave (Read about how GradSave helps college students in this article)
GiveCollege
PigIt

How to Create a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
If you are looking to create your own or want to get a start on paying for college here are a few tips you could know.

1. Round Your Goal Up, Tuition Costs change
If one year of college tuition will be $43,578 and the next will be $53,789, then it is better to round up to the nearest $5k so the goals will look easier to understand. The first one will become $45k and the second is $55k. If you give a precise number people will think that if you raise that exact amount then that is all the money you will need and no more. Goals that are rounded up help to covered unexpected costs plus the processing fees that each crowdfunding site uses.

2. Update Your Page weekly
People need to know that you are actively involved in your campaign. If they see that all you did was post a page asking for money then they will get a little nervous donating if that is all they see with no status updates. They want to see that you are heavily involved in what  you are trying to do.

3. Offer Rewards of Some Sort
Many sties offer the chance for you to give something back for those that donate. Even writing hand written notes of gratitude goes a long way for some people because it provides that personal connection to those that helped you. The larger the donation the large the reward. Many people offer personal Skype chats or even some will, those that live in the area, cook a meal for them. These are all suggestions so you need to come up with ones that match your style.

4. Be Clear and Upfront what the money is going to
I have read many crowdfunding campaigns that ask for a lot of money and then give no real description about what they plan to do with it. This confuses donors because it shows you have not thought your plan through. No one likes to donate to a cause that has no clear plan of action. People need to know exactly how the money will be used.


It’s sad to think that college will really only be for the rich but as I stated in another article, the students who are successful in school, and in life, know where to find all the money they need without with loans because they understand how the system works. It puts a lot of work on them but that is the responsibility of getting older and going to school. There is lots of free money out there you just need to be responsible enough to find it but it won’t be easy.

I included her page down below along with other articles that talk about her story and what she did. I also included similar stories about how spreading the news for a good cause changed the lives of so many.

Her GoFundMe Account
Donate to Cassie Wessely

News Articles

Students Turn to Crowdfunding Sites to pay for college

Vandy Article

ABC7 News

Finance Yahoo Article

Additional Generous Stories

8 Year old Boy Pays off Past Due Lunches

Students Help send school Janitor to visit family in Italy

Entrepreneurship Series Program for the Fall

The fall program has started today. The series is broken up into several topics

How to Write a Business Plan – Sept 2, 9, and 16th
Creating a Value Driven Business – Sept 23 and 30
Pitching to Investors – Oct 7 and 14
Raising Money Through Crowdfunding – Oct 21 and 28
Resources for Entrepreneurs – Nov 4, 11, and 18
Overcoming the Struggles of Starting a Business Dec 2, 9, and 16


You can download today’s Writing a Business Plan presentation file. Everything we covered in class is included in the power point. Please review the slides as we will cover them next week and start on new material. Remember the class starts at noon and ends at 2 and the library opens at 10 am.

If you would like to review the kickstarter that we covered in class today you can click on this link. You can also read about the TIME’s article citing them as the Most Successful Kickstarter campaign ever.

The movie I mentioned in class is called “No Cameras Allowed” you can click on the name to learn more about the film and why you should watch it. You can read what the Wall Street Journal has to say about the film.
You can watch the full film here. Please take the time to watch this film with your family!

The two books I mentioned are here

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis

Solar Powered Highways with Built-In Heat Pads & LED Lights

[Updated: 6/18/2014]
New Portion down below with updated links.

Now that solar powered panels are publicly available to anyone it’s not surprising the ideas that people come up with. Scott and Julie Brusaw came up with the idea of replacing asphalt roads with solar panels that have built-in heat and LED lights. Their idea has enabled them to create an indiegogo account to help raise funds for their project. Infact they have also received funding from the Federal Highway Administration. They have already built several prototypes to showcase how they work. Their hard work has paid off in ways they never imagined.

Designing a system to replace highways and roads and pretty much anything with asphalt has lots of opportunities for use. Schools will be able to change the configuration of any area into their choice of play or use. Roads will be able to display the lighted lanes and crosswalks with flashing announcements ahead of the driver for unexpected objects. Any place with roads will be able to display anything they want, even an emergency helipad for search and rescue operations because the LED lights allow for any display. This will help cut down on the use of paint on roads. In order to get a better idea of how they work, watch the video below.

The number of views on that video show just how interested people are in creating sustainable highways that pay for themselves. Roads and highways that don’t have to be salted or cleared every time it snows would save cities millions of dollars a year. Less accidents with drivers hitting animals because the LED lights would light up anytime an object appears on the road. The cost saving benefits are too much to pass up and this is why they were able to exceed their crowdfunding goal of $1 million dollars. You can watch their Indiegogo video below to see how you can be apart of this great idea.

Scott’s idea of creating solar panel highways is one that has taken a lifetime to unfold. His work is one that many consider to be quite the game changer in how we maintain our highways and because they use the internet to convey information, something only a hand-ful of cities have and not at the extent of Scott’s idea, they will be able to save lives and help drivers make better decisions. You can learn more about Scott’s idea at a TEDx talk he gave, down below are the two videos that make up his speech.

The video includes other ideas he has for solar panel highways. It is great to see though how much support he has gotten for his work and hopefully within the next twenty years we will start to see his idea come to life within cities.

If you want to become a part of this great project check out all the links down below.

George Takei gives his support
Make a Donation
Solar Roadways Website
Solar Roadways Twitter
TechCrunch News on Solar Roadways

Note for Entrepreneurs
In watching what Scott has created for himself you will notice that he took matters into his own hands by creating solar panels that have multiple uses. You will notice that he did not create a company to sell to investors just to get funding. He focused on his product and worked hard to showcase how it works on his property at home. This allowed him total freedom to do what he wanted with his product without any strings attached from corporate investors. You will notice that he took a piece of his land and built a foundation to demonstrate how he built it, how it works, and the many uses for it.

Entrepreneurs who are interested in building a product should focus on making it a reality first and make sure it works the way it is suppose to before trying to raise any money. People want to see first what it is suppose to do with a working model before donating. Once you have several examples, like Scott created with all his Youtube videos, then you can start putting together a campaign to raise funds. This will allow you to side step the need for Venture Capitalist’s, whose goal is only for their self interests in returning a profit for themselves, and focus on raising money from people who are only concerned about making sure your product and business take off.

The direction that Scott took has paid off because he was able to pass his goal of $1 million, thanks in part to George Takei’s tweet, which means he will now be able to put into production his product. Right now Scott will be working on changing the roads for national forest areas which will prove helpful with animal crossings and fallen trees and rocks.

The idea is to put in all the hard work first, which is something you cannot avoid, and make it a working model. Once you have that down, then you can start putting together a demonstration video and once you’ve done that you can start to build a social media campaign to help raise awareness.

If you have been keeping up with this blog then you know that for anything to really take off, there has to be some influencer in the social media world that will help get an idea off the ground, and in this case, it was Mr. Takei’s tweet that created the spark needed for Scott to reach his goal. Now if you do a search on solar panels and Scott you will see dozens of articles written about his work. As an Entrepreneur, it is your job to build it first and then do everything else after.

Updated Portion
This article, after writing it, became the most popular one on this site. Infact it has been viewed more times than all the other articles written on this site and for good reason. Scott’s idea has now taken off so far from his goal that he will be putting his dream into action by next year because the city of Sandpoint, Idaho has asked him to replace all of their city sidewalks, an airport tarmac, a welcome center parking lot, and Amtrak Station platform. Other cities from around the US and world have already invited him to speak about his idea and many have made offers for him to bring his idea to their city.

From a boy who played with electric race car tracks as a 6 year old who dreamed of making all roads electric he has now gotten the attention of many government officials and cities around the world looking to improve their road and highways with his idea.

If you want to learn more about his recent goals, offers, & new business strategy, click here

Here is Scott and his wife with Bill Nye at the White House for his work

Show your Support with Solar Roadways Support Twitter Account

Reading Rainbow makes a Comeback via KickStarter Campaign

[Article Updated] 5/31/2014
In the time since this article was written, Levar Burton was able to surpass his goal of $1 million dollars, which currently stands at $3 million and growing. Their new goal is set for $5 million since they still have 32 days left in their crowdfunding campaign. Might as well make the best of it, right? Glad to see so many to a show that gave so much to kids who watched it when it was on TV.

Remember the days when you could turn on PBS and watch Levar Burton teach you about new books, tell you stories, and go on adventures in your mind? Those were the days when learning to read was fun and interesting. I still remember the intro in my head and so did most of your friends at school. It’s what connected kids at school together, common TV shows we all watched together at home. Now you don’t have that anymore. Take a look back at a song that most kids could sing back word for word.

Brought back some memories of sitting in front of that TV and singing along didn’t it? Levar made reading fun and interesting, something most kids don’t get anymore. They have no physical connection with books today unless they have great parents who make it a habit to visit the public library once a week.

Funding for reading programs today goes to low income kids primarily. The question of “how do we get kids interested in reading” back in 1983 turned into “how do we get kids to read, period?” in 2009. This shows a lack of respect for teaching kids to read. It’s not enough that schools should be required to teach kids to read, it should primarily come from the parents. In order to use the internet one must be able to read unless all they use it for is to watch tv or movies or play video games. Mr. Burton stated, “Right now, 1 out of every 4 children in America will grow up illiterate.” How do we expect to compete with countries like Japan, China, and India where they beat us in math, science, and technology every year? Children need to not only learn how to read but to learn that it is FUN to read.

Change in Direction
In less than a day, a feat that has only been accomplished a few times on kickstarter, Levar Burton was able to meet his goal of $1 million dollars to bring back the Reading Rainbow program. As of writing this article, over $70 thousand was raised. Instead of on TV, it will now be on the web, in classrooms, and on tablets. For a long time now there has been an app of Reading Rainbow but Levar felt there needs to be more involvement and in order to make that happen he decided to raise the funds with today’s crowdfunding options. It’s great to say that he met his goal and is well pass the mark since yesterday. Chances are he will get back more than he expected but that should not come as a surprise because he gave millions of children who watched his show for three decades the idea that reading is fun, something no dollar amount can match. He created a video for his campaign, watch below.

Great ending on the video if you know who that person is. Children still do not read as much as they should for various reasons but Reading Rainbow was a show that brought different books to you and made it fun. If Reading Rainbow impacted your life in anyway share your thoughts below in the comment section.

Find out who else donated

Opposing Views
Reading Rainbow is not the only program out there encouraging kids to read, First Book and Children’s Literacy Initiative, are a few others but they operate in a different way than how Reading Rainbow works now. Reading Rainbow was a program brought to you by PBS, a program that was free paid for by grants and other funding. First Book and Children’s Literacy are non-profits whose aim is to foster reading in children not for profit.

In one way there is a view that Kickstarter should be used to develop struggling startups from the public not for for-profit entities, which Reading Rainbow now claims for itself. Those should be high praise marks because it is For-Profit companies that know how to make their product and service last longer because that is the point of their business model. If it wasn’t for For-Profit companies, non-profits wouldn’t have anyone else to beg for money from, besides the government. Why should non-profits have to keep asking for money all the time? Shouldn’t they learn how to survive on their own? For-Profits have and they are doing great. Prices go up because costs keep going up so they improve. Non-Profits only get better at asking for money and selling small things here and there.

Reading Rainbow will be able to offer more innovative programs now that they are no longer begging for money anymore. They have come up with different ways of generating money for all their different programs. One of their programs will be for teachers to use their special tools in classrooms with a monthly subscription, whereas, schools in poor performing areas will have access to their resources for free, so there is a balance still of making sure those who need it the most get what they need and those that can afford to pay, do.

Should you donate?

A Legacy Lives On
Whether you grew up watching the show or not, it has a special place in our hearts for what Levar Burton brought into this world for children, and even adults learning to read. He taught us that the best adventures happen in our head from the words on the pages. He taught us that we can be anyone we want when he go on the adventures in all those books. So whether you want to contribute because you want one of the special prizes he is giving away or would like to give back to a show that gave you so much, each is good enough because it will go to help a new generation of kids learn how to read in a fun and engaging way. I will never forget coming home from school waiting for the program to come on and the endless hours watching that show.

You can adopt a classroom or have a private dinner with him or appear on the show, any one of those prizes can be had for a special donation. Check out his kickstarter page and see just how big of an impact he really had and to learn more about what he wants to do now.

His online kickstarter campaign will probably break his goal by twice that amount. He will be able to fund his program and give kids the ability to read at their grade level which will benefit the rest of their life.

All I have to say is Thanks Levar Burton for making reading fun, I especially enjoyed all you taught me growing up. This also includes a nod to Mister Roger’s Neighbor program.

Contribute Now

KickStarter Campaign

Reading Rainbow News
Washington Post
Mashable News
ABC News

What would it take to fix a situation as bad as McDowell County, W.Va?

The conditions in McDowell County of West Virginia are so bad that majority of the people there live on government support. In a place once supported by the coal industry, most people get by on disability insurance, social security, and food stamps. Infact, this county was one of the first recipients of the federal food stamp program created by President John F. Kennedy because of his promise on his campaign trail to help them. Teen pregnancy rates are high, but drug use is even higher. The conditions for most are appalling because no major industries operate there anymore.

After reading the full article the first thing that came to my mind was, how would I fix this situation as an entrepreneur? The first thing that came to mind was Jared Diamond’s famous book, Collapse, on how societies fail or survive. He studied the way in which societies, based on environmental or industrial influences, were affected. In many cases some flourished to the point of creating a vibrant community that afforded jobs and support for its people. Of course there is the opposite case, one too many unfortunately, in which many cities or towns or whole regions fell apart because of unfavorable conditions. He marks some of the contributing factors that play a role in the decline of societies and how that has a negative economic impact on its surrounding neighbors.

After considering his work, the next thing I thought was, if enough entrepreneurs got together and viewed the condition here as a failing business model, what would it take to bring it back from the dead? From a business perspective, one has to be of reasonable mind to know that if a business model doesn’t work or a company is operating in the red it’s best to fold the company and move on (i.e., file for bankruptcy) unless unlimited funds are available. In this case, aside from looking at it like a business model, the option to fold is not available because the one thing that is present here, and not present in the first, are the lives of the people here. Regardless of what option you pick, their lives will continue to be here so using the Vanishing Option Test, that Chip and Dan Heath discussed in their book Decisive, you understand that the only option you have is to help them because you got rid of all your other options (vanishing option) such as more government assistance (which has shown to have negative effects). When no other option is available then you understand there has to be major changes made in order to bring them around.

After considering these two books I imagined how entrepreneurs would bring about change to this place. In an ideal situation you would bring in funding to build new schools, new homes, new apartments, a new main street with operating businesses with parks nearby and places for entertainment (movie theaters, bowling alleys and skate parks). The idea would be to use crowdfunding to bring in money instead of through banks, who wouldn’t lend a penny because they see no return value in it (what does that say about their own support?) But after all is said and done and people have jobs, is that enough? Would the town be able to support itself after it has conditioned itself to live off of government support all these decades?

As an entrepreneur, what questions would you ask yourself about this situation? This is important to know because there might be times you are asked to come into a sinking ship of a company and fix everything, the question is, will you know what to do?

Here are some questions I asked myself
Would building new facilities throughout the small town fix anything or just make it worse? Remember this is a place that has a long history of prescription drug abuse and high drop out rates.
Would bringing in high quality instructors to teach free education programs be enough to get people working again?
Would offering good paying jobs help bring back the community?
What would be the first step in fixing such a problem?

This is just one community that happened to be showcased in the newspaper. Remember that are hundreds, if not thousands, of little communities throughout the US that suffer the same condition of being abandoned by an industry.

Leave a comment if you have an idea about how to tackle such a problem or would just like to share your thoughts in general.

Read the Full Story of McDowell County Here

Learn more about McDowell with the Documentary – “Hollow, an Interactive Documentary”