Tag Archives: raising money online

Creating a Business doesn’t have to be hard, just requires Hard Work

Creating a business doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are worried about all the legal stuff that lawyers like to come up with to scare you and tax issues you have to deal with, why not leave it to the people who get paid to do that? Successful business ideas don’t start with all the legal stuff in the beginning, they all start with an idea. You then take that idea and see if anyone will buy what you are selling. If you find that people are willing to buy from you then you have a viable business on your hands.

Simple Steps to Starting a Business Today
Step 1. 
Come up with an idea that you think people need or will solve a problem.

Josh Malone found a problem with water balloons. He saw that it took a long time to fill up water balloons and then tie them and then throw them. So he came up with a system that allowed you to fill up 37 water balloons in just a few seconds. Not only did they fill up but they also tied themselves so kids could start throwing them at each other right away. His kickstarter campaign showed that even though this is not a pressing issue, the time of the year to launch his product (summer in America) was the perfect timing for raising money. His initial goal was $10k but as of this writing, he has already reached $315,889 dollars. You can watch just what his program is all about in the video below.

Step 2. Build a Prototype or example to show people the purpose of your business

This is the hard part for most people. They have an idea but putting in the hard work to make it all happen is where you go from the dreamers to doers. Ask how many people around you have ideas for their business and you will get a lot of well-wishers who say, “someday I want to start my own business.” There are many people who have taken the first step in showing their hard work and it has paid off for them. People need to see that you are serious about your idea and if you show the first step then they will meet you part or half way.

Kleo’s Doughnuts is a good example of that

Xiki Commands created many videos to show their work in progress

Step 3. When asking for Money have a laid out plan to show what you plan to do with it.

A lot of people have trouble with this part because they have never had to manage money before in a way that goes towards building a business. This is why investors of any kind expect entrepreneurs to write a business plan so they know more about their business and what they will do with the money once it is given to them. The more detailed a business plan the more helpful it is to understand what you plan to do once you get funded. These are a few examples that demonstrate their effort.

Moment smartwatch is a wrist watch that allows you to type on the band and send information just like the screen on a smartphone. Their kickstarter campaign details what the product is about, their fund raising goals, and where they plan to go with it. All that detailed explanation paid off because they were able to go past their goal of $100k and hit $447,900.

Another campaign that passed its goal was to distribute money in random places to random people. The idea is connected to a series program that teaches about Art and Action and it’s relation to a variety of studies. His story and explanation for how he planned to use the money told investors the why and what and how they needed to know. He went past his goal of $1k hitting $1150 instead.

This guy came up with an idea for doing something he loves and sharing it with everyone else. If someone can raise money for a suit for an interview or bake a cake for their girlfriend then he figured he could mail people pancakes that he made. Not a silly idea since he was able to go past his fund raising goal.

Step 4. After you have received funds then you must show action
The prototype and examples you gave with your presentation are just the beginning parts of starting a business. Now the hard part begins with organizing everything, ordering supplies, and meeting deadlines. This is where idea becomes reality. It is one thing to create something for yourself but when other people depend on you to give them what they want that is when you have more responsibilities to deal with.

Justin Herd experienced his moment when he had trouble as a college student trying to eat his meals with out creating a lot of dishes in the process. He wanted something that he could use one time to do many things in. He created a bowl that you can cook in, strain, eat, and store food in. He idea took a long time to perfect and along the way he has been racking in the cash but his bigger moment came when he went passed his goal on kickstarter.

Step 5. Give the People what they want when they want it.
Now that you have laid out your plan, shown people what you can do and when they can get it, the next hard part is making sure they can get it anytime they want it. If barriers are up that make it difficult for them to get your product then it just encourages them to find competitors that sell similar products or services.

You never want to add more hassle to the shopping experience then there already is. You have to learn how to streamline your whole operation so that when orders come in they are met right away with action so they are sent out right away. Zappos company prides themselves on giving their customers little surprises when they order something from them. This could be in the form of replacing shoes without any problems or free next day delivery without them knowing about it.

You can also build on an idea and just improve it so that people already understand how to take advantage of it when they need it faster.

The free book lending library has become very popular with crowdfunding programs because it builds on an existing idea and just improves it a little bit.

Little Free Library in Brooks School Park
Little Free Library in Albany, NY
Little Free Library in Woolich, London

The great thing about the Little Free Library program is that they all met their goals.

After you have established yourself as a business that has customers and you have repeat business then you can move onto the legal stuff and tax stuff. You can hire out lawyers and accountants who can then manage your finances for your growing business. This way you can focus on the day-to-day operations and hiring new employees. This whole process has been shorten because of the ability to raise money faster online making it easier to start your business faster.

The most important thing to be aware of when starting any business is to know your strengths and weaknesses. If you have a hard time meeting deadlines then hire someone that can finish projects once you start them. After you have drawn out every part of your business so you can visually see how your business operates then you can start learning how to improve every part. It takes time but don’t expect to be up and running right away.

As for the dreamers of the business world the only expression you will hear from them when looking at successful crowdfunding campaigns is “that’s such a simple idea I could have come up with that.” Yea but you didn’t.

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.

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