Tag Archives: startups

Meet the Companies from Startup Week

 

ATX Startup Week Image

Austin startweek is a great way to get out and meet tons of new people and discover what new companies have just started. I met tons of new people, a lot from out of town and out of the country, who came just for that one week to find out what all is happening in Austin. This should tell you just how important this event was if you live in Austin. Startup week is like a mini SXSW, there are tons of events, lots of food, parties at night, and plenty of free swag and giveaways.

I thought I would share with all those that missed it what companies were there and a little about what they do. The program was able to fly out 10 people to join the program to learn more about other companies. So read up on some of these great companies and if you are interested in learning more about them, shoot me an email or tweet and ask for a tour.


Union Metrics
This companies delivers multi-channel social media analytics for companies and brands that need to know which social media channels work best and how to maximize their usage. They provide a deep look at to how certain channels work and where companies should be spending their efforts.
@Unionmetrics

Verzana
Sales commission tracking is what this company does in order to determine how to structure different commission tracking for each staff member. They can manage sales and commission in real-time in order to determine where to maximize their potential for clients.
@Verzana_io

Trunkist
This is a fashion tech company that helps fashion bloggers and new brands deliver their content to their customers by using a logistics system to fulfill orders online. They help make it easier to deliver items for pre-order items only.
@Trunkist

Thread
This photo sharing app helps people explore the world around them with the use of photos. People are able to connect through the use of shared interests in a unique way by groups or communities.
Get the App

Skip the Hire
Hiring can be a difficult and costly expense for companies, so they help reduce that by helping companies grow with the use of financial tools that many companies do not have to perform on their own.
@SkiptheHire

Riskpulse
This company helps traders determine the market outlook based on weather predictions. They also work with transportation companies to ensure that supply-chain operations run smoothly according to weather forecasts.
@_Riskpulse

Rent Rebate
This company will pay you for finding your apartment by using them as a reference. They will collect their fee from the apartment complex and split their sale with you. Many people are looking for apartments so why not get paid for it.
@Rent_Rebate

Real Massive
Commercial Real-estate is a competitive field so if you are looking for space then why not use real-time data when searching? This is what Real Massive does, they help you find the best place using the most current data available with charts and data maps.
@RealMassive

PostUp
Email is not going away anytime soon so this company capitalizes on the potential of email marketing for companies. They help build brands with customers through the use of email and mobile marketing. They use provide consultants to help create a personalized experience.
@PostupDigital

Pivot 3 Inc
They provide massive storage infrastructure for companies to ensure their businesses are able to perform their work and keep their customers happy knowing they can access their services 24/7.
@Pivot3inc

Pic Jam
This photo sharing app lets users share private moments with friends and family in a secure manner.
Get the App

Peeptrade
Trading is becoming a popular activity for many people and peeptrade lets people look at some of the top traders portfolios to learn about what they are doing on the market. This a good way to learn what other people are doing and improve your skills in the trading industry.
@Peeptrade

OnPrem Solution
They are a consulting and innovation technology company that helps Hollywood companies streamline their processes by using current technology in the process.
@OnPremSP

Paribus
Saving money is what this company is all about. They created an email program that monitors all your online purchases and if ever a price drops, or you missed a deal, from one of your past purchases then they will go and get the difference back for you.
@Paribusco

MassVenture
Crowdfunding is being used in different ways and this company has taken the concept and used it for real-estate funding. This company pools peoples funds together in order to invest and build infrastructure in Texas.
@MassVenture

MakeXYZ
The amazing thing about crowdsourcing is that it brings people together for all kinds of causes, including finding 3D printers in your neighborhood. This company helps connect people with 3D printers around them so if you have a plan and need it printed you can connect with them and they will help find you one.
@Makexyz

Jam On
This app works on iOS and helps you discover your music library and find new music that you would be interested in listening too. It’s a new way to discover the music you love.
@JamOnApp

Investor Sheets
This company will help you build a targeted list of investors and advisors so you make sure to spend your startup time wisely.
@InvestSheet

Help
The focus for this company is helping other companies improve their customer service with online chat support. They provide a variety of tools to use in order to improve the business relationship with customers online.
@TweetsfromHelp

Air Help
They take the hassle out of flying by making sure Airlines follow their rules if something goes wrong. Instead of contacting the airlines about your problems you can contact this company and they will take care of everything with majority of the time you getting your money back or some kind of compensation.
@TheAirHelper

Gazelles Growth Institute
Many company executives are not sure all the steps they should take to run their business and books only provide so much help. Gazelles has created videos for less experienced executives to learn directly from other experienced executives with their growing library of business education.
@GazellesGrowth

Eagle Eye Networks
They provide cloud based video surveillance in order to ensure that help data is lost if something were to happen to your business. They offer a secure solution for watching over your most important concerns.
@EagleEyeCloud

Datafiniti
There are billions of pieces of data online and not all of it useful in its present state. This company comes in and cleans up the data for companies to use with their systems in order to get the most out of all that information online.
@Datafiniti

Chimi Churri
Building an app can be difficult if you don’t know how to code but with Chimi, they can help you get a SaaS like business or marketplace business up and running with no problems. They provide the tools you need to get started and help you every step of the way.
@Chimiapp

Aiesec
This non-profit is designed to help bring international, US students, and volunteers to Austin Tech companies so they can take advantage of all the opportunities here. They are a global organization that also works with many other cities in providing opportunities to students.
@AIESEC

Your Trainer
This app provides you with personalized videos that help you improve your health and fitness level. It adapts to your workouts and changes as you start to improve or fall behind. A great way to improve your lifestyle and health with a trainer that works within your level.
@YourTrainercom

Quantcast
This company specializes in real-time advertising and audience measurement in order to provide companies with data that will help them connect better with their customers. They measure and record internet traffic in order to provide accurate analytics for companies.
@Quantcast

BuzzPoints
This company rewards people with points by using local banks and businesses in the area. Anytime you sign up with a company that is partnered with them you can earn points that can be redeemed for rewards or donated to a charity.
@BuzzPoints

Betts Recruiting
Betts is a recruiting firm that specializes in finding top talent for technology companies around the world. They world with many different departments, sales, marketing, technology, and more. They have many offices around the world to help pair great talent with startups and mature tech companies.
@BettsRecruiting

WP Engine
They help provide a more reliable and amazing experience with WordPress using their technology of specialized support. If you are looking to get more out of using wordpress with all their special add-ons then they are a great host provider for your website or blog.
@WPEngine

SilverCar
Car rental service that uses just an app to make the order. They only use luxury Audi cars so once you show up then you can use the app to make the payment and unlock your car. The features they offer are Wi-Fi in the car, satellite radio, GPS, and fair toll tracking.
@SilverCar

MagRabbit
They specialize in creating enterprise software for companies that range from apps to supply chain software. They look to provide an all encompassing solution to a variety of web-based solutions for any kind of business.
@MagRabbit

Lumeris
Healthcare online solutions is a growing field so they help health organizations manage their online problems. This company provides consulting services, technology support, and logistics for many health companies that are looking to improve their services and expand.
@Lumeris

Continuum Analytics
They provide data analytic tools built on python to companies in order for them to analyze, manage, and visualize big data online. They provide training, consulting, and data management for all kinds of businesses.
@ContinuumIO

Alcon DTS
This company compete business technology support. They can set up offices for IP phone, printers, computers, network, setup servers, and routers complete business support. They are the IT solution for small to mid-size companies.
@Alcon_DTS

 vThreat
Many companies do not know how to protect themselves against cyber attacks because they are not sure where they will strike. This company creates simulated attacks in order for the company to improve their systems and learn where their potential gaps are that attackers can use to get in.
@vThreat

Weeva
Collecting stories from family and friends online and putting them into a hardcover book is what this company does. You provide the content and material and they will help organize all your stories and events into one nice elegant book.
@Weeva

Rail Yard
They provide internet and phone connectivity for businesses in several major cities. They help provide the setup infrastructure for your businesses and make it easy to switch providers.
@Railyard

PopUp Play
Children are able to create their own fantasy playscape in an app and then this company will build what that child created and ship it to their house. The child is able to customize every part of their new environment, including putting art and characters on their design and even their name.
@PopUpPlayToy

Pingboard
This company provides a visual directory of employees in any size company. This helps to determine what person works in what department and who their manager is and the people the are connected with on projects. They take a regular company directory and make the whole system visual. A very important tool in understanding how companies are structured.
@pingboard

PenPal Schools
They have taken the old method of writing letters to students in other countries and updated the process for the digital world. Students can write letters but also email and collaborate with other classrooms through special curriculum and activities in order to learn about each other’s culture.
@PenpalSchools

md Portal
Streamlining the process of healthcare makes it easier for patients to get the help they need on their own time. This company provides a service where patients can send in videos and photos of their conditions and a doctor can review it and even prescribe medication to the patient, if needed. This helps reduce costs and increase access to healthcare.
@mdportalapp

Manager Complete
Their software helps franchise owners manager several different store location. Managers are able to manage schedules, employees, equipment, and sales all with this one-stop shop enterprise software. It handles a variety of issues that are common for administrative staff to deal with on a daily basis.
@Managercomplete

Ihiji
This company specializes in providing remote management software in order to keep track of certain devices but also to control any IP connected device with this software. This allows anyone, even companies, to control devices at their workplace or home that is connected and has an IP address.
@ihiji

Goodybag
This company works on a B2B model and provides catering to businesses for their office staff and special events. They work with a variety of restaurants so they make it easy to select from your favorite restaurant and deliver it right to your office on time.
@GoodybagATX

dimeSocial
They help companies grow by making it easy to provide perks and services to their employees in order to show appreciation. Their app provides a growing list of benefits that any employee can use where ever they are.
@dimeSocial

Demand Food
A food delivery company that provides healthy meals for just $10. This company will deliver meals as often as you like and the menu changes daily so you never have the same meal twice. The cost of each meal includes the delivery fee, tax, and tip.
@Demand_Food

Curb
This company provides the hardware and software for monitoring your homes energy usage so you can make sure that your electricity bill is correct. The software also gives you control over connected devices so you can make sure everything is running the way you want it to run. They provide apps on all your devices so you can keep track of everything.
@EnergyCurb

Chiron Health
They help provide secure video visits with doctors by also making sure they receive full reimbursement for their participation in the program. This helps patients receive faster healthcare service.
@ChironHealth

Assist 2 Develop
This company provides a connection between freelance engineers and designers with small businesses and startups. They act as a middleman between the two who are looking for work and companies that need to hire for short-term projects.
@Assist2Develop

Umbel
They provide a platform for marketers to access large amounts of consumer data in order to understand more about their online habits and behavior. They help clean up data and make it easier for marketing companies to work with what they offer.
@Umbel

Softlayer
They provide cloud infrastructure for data centers and network points of presence for global companies. Their services are offered for a variety of clients including startups and large corporations.
@Softlayer

Hired
They help people find a job with many leading companies online. Job finders can fill out a series of questions and then they will send out the information to companies looking to hire, if they find a match, companies will contact the job finder with offers.
@Hired_HQ

Booz Allen Hamilton
Management and Tech Consulting film for government departments, corporations, and non-profits. They work in a variety of fields to help companies meet their needs and find solutions.
@BoozAllen

OurCrowd
They help providing funding initiatives for startups in Israel and global companies. The company provides a platform for people to crowdfund selected projects.
@OurCrowd

Broadleaf Commerce
They offer open source Java platform with e-commerce services for companies that work with the spring framework. Their services are easily customizable for any kind of enterprise solution.
@Broadleaf

Trendkite
Their services make it easy to determine the how effective a PR campaign went online based on analytic results and data mining online. They provide accurate and real-time information for both marketing and PR firms in making sure their efforts pay off.
@TrendKite

Square Root
They help retailers understand all the data points of their business by giving them insight as to how everything is operating correctly, from inventory to point-of-sales and customer relations. Their SaaS model helps many multi-unit enterprises manage their day-to-day operations better.
@SquareRootATX

Outbound Engine
They help create email and content marketing campaigns for businesses. They also offer social media help by automating many of the regular processes so you can focus on your business management.
@OutboundEngine

Peddle
This company helps make the process of selling your car simple and easy. Their company will come out and inspect your car and provide you with a no-obligation quote. They even pick up your car and pay you if you are interested in their offer. All the paperwork is handled through their services.
@peddle


It was exciting to meet with all these companies last week and learn about all the new and exciting companies that are growing up around the Austin area and Texas. For anyone looking for a job many of these companies are hiring so now is a good time to take advantage of these successful startups that need more staff to help them run their day-to-day operations.

I always say that nothing will ever come to you if you just stay at home so these events show that you are serious about joining the startup culture and meeting the kind of people who follow through on their word. If anything you might connect with some up-and-coming star in their company that is looking for more connections in the startup world.

Freelancing the World

The growth in the “gig” economy is booming because the structure of work today is so uneven. Jobs do not carry a guarantee that it will be there in five or ten years so people need to understand that they have to start doing something for themselves to ensure that they have a steady income in the future. The rise of apps that allow you to piecemeal a living wage is a blessing for many because they can now rely on different sources of income to make up for the lost hours from work.

More and more companies today are cutting hours because the costs are too high with many companies not having enough work for employees to do or, in the case of companies like Wal-Mart, restricting employees to only work a set number of hours and giving the rest to other employees to make up for the remaining hours, which takes away from someone working a full-hour work week and getting benefits. In order to handle such a living apps like Uber and Postmates are making it easier for people to gain a footing on their income by using their free time to pickup odd jobs for other people.

The start of the sharing Economy
The rise of this new market system started happening in the 70s when companies were encouraged to trim down their hiring practices but it wasn’t until the realization of what the internet could do that it started giving people more options for jobs. Ebay showed people that they could sell their own personal belongings to anyone in the world and turn that into a job. Amazon allowed people and companies to open up their own store online and sell directly through them enabling them to become the online store with everything. Then YouTube came along and turned visual content into a full time job and now that apps are around people are able to come up with new options of creating their own source of income in ways they never thought possible.

Ebay became the first online yard sale website to offer used items that people sold. The creative disruptors’ of the world saw this and knew the potential for what it was really worth. That is when you started seeing users who were making a lot of money off of Ebay because they were the first to embrace online purchasing with the use of paypal but they also saw that you could turn this into a full time job. The users who took advantage of what Ebay is all about, online marketing, became powersellers and would go out and find unique items to put up on their account to sell. Just think of the show, American Pickers, but with the hosts taking what they found and posting it up on Ebay to sell. In the case of Ebay you have a 1 seller to anyone ratio with the highest bid winning, just like at an auction but also the thrill of a game. If you listen to the song “Ebay” by Weird Al you can begin to see the crazy appeal that some people get out of using it.

Amazon started as this new website that allowed you to purchased stuff from a store online that you couldn’t actually visit to touch any of the products. The hard part about getting people to sign up and use it was getting people comfortable enough to use their credit card online. The appeal for businesses and entrepreneurs came when Amazon allowed them to set up their own store online because at the time, who knew how to build websites? There were no website building sites like there are today to make it easy so if anyone could post products and sell through Amazon, which they handled all the payments and processing, why not take advantage of that? Many people did because they could offer the best deals found online and still to this day Amazon offers some of the best deals online. The reason for this is because so many companies are signed up on Amazon just incase Amazon itself cannot offer the better deal they might have another company that does. Amazon now makes it very easy to self-publish your own books which many people have taken advantage of with some people publishing hundreds of books on their own that would have never gotten approved from formal book publishing companies.

YouTube then came in and showed people that you could post content online and make money doing that, entertaining people. Many people today make a nice living on making content that people enjoy watching which has really created this new economy of finding and creating your own kind of work which is exactly what the apps like Uber and Airbnb and even TaskRabbit now offer.

Apps for different skills
Once companies started using the internet more to outsource jobs that is when American’s realized they had to start finding new lines of work. Many people today rely solely on these apps to make up for their income. The required skill of time management is so key to balancing all these apps that you have to check them on a regular basis (meaning every 2 minutes) or risk losing a job to another person.

The reason companies went the route of outsourcing was because it allowed them to focus on what they do best instead of managing payroll and taxes and health benefits. The use of full time employees for that is a drag on helping the company stay lean and nimble in hard times. The use of contract employees for small projects is something more companies favor because it means no dealing with benefits of perks.

The growth in apps will only continue which means the more apps you find that connect people with other people for work, the faster the adoption of the app. People like apps that make it super easy to sign up and start making money. If you can make repairs around the house at a moment’s notice then apps like TaskRabbit and Thumbtack make it very easy to post a job and get a reply within a few minutes from people who are qualified.

The rise in personal projects such as errands, grocery shopping, and little household jobs are where Favor, Postmates, Fancyhands, JobRunners, Airtasker, Agent Anything, and Needto all come in and provide options for people to find work. People who are a jack of all trades would find websites like these a heaven sent option because it means they can look for quick jobs that last from a few minutes to a few short hours. I will provide a list below of all new companies that are joining in to provide these kind of services of connecting people with job takers.

The interesting thing to note is that many people who do use apps like Uber and Airbnb and TaskRabbit majority of them have college degrees and use their extra time to make a little extra money.

The Future of the Workplace
It is not surprising to learn that many companies are using these apps and websites to find short-term employees to fill in their labor needs. You might be wondering, “why not just hire those people then?” Well most jobs are not long term and many do not even fit a part-time requirement. Wonolo is a company that was created out of the Coca-Cola Founders platform, which helps entrepreneurs launch their startup ideas and started by AJ Brustein and Yong Kim.

The purpose of this two-year old company is to help companies find employees on short notice that are pre-screened and qualified for the work. Many of these jobs operate inside the companies they are hiring for so, for instance, they might need helping with packaging or shipping items or even delivering to customers. The range of work they have listed covers a broad range of jobs, some that require a college degree and experience and others that you are available and pre-screened.

The future of the workforce is such that it is cheaper to hire people this way for short-term projects then to keep people on full-time or part-time. How many times have you gone to work and seen people just fluttering around because they don’t have much work to do. The company could have spent that money on something better. That is why companies do not hire for long-term anymore and they are cutting and reducing jobs at a fast rate because it makes no sense to keep on a full staff of employees for jobs that only need work when the time comes.

The nice thing about sites like Wonolo, Amazon Home Services, and TaskRabbit is that they enable anyone, regardless of age, to be able to work and make a living doing what they are good at. There are some people who are great handy men but what company is hiring for that?  Now they can sign up with all these different services and start finding work right away. Wonolo has mentioned that their services help people promote themselves in jobs that would have been hard to get otherwise but that they do have a number of people who have secured full-time work using their service.


Full List of Gig Sharing Sites

Fiverr

Postmates

Favor

Wonolo

Zaarly

Agent Anything

Thumbtack

Amazon Home Services

Needto

JobRunners

Airtasker

Codersclan

Metasko

SlaveLabour

News Article

In an Uber World, Fortune Favors the Freelancer

Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Workforce Anxieties

Corporate America Is Using the Sharing Economy to Turn Us Into Temps

Wonolo Hits Its Stride: How a Startup is Solving the On-Demand Staffing Dilemma, One Job at a Time

The Hoverboards of the Future

Back to the Future is responsible for showing the world how much fun Hoverboards could be. Ever since that movie came out all people have been wanting is their very own board so they can do all the things Marty McFly did minus being chased by bullies with cooler Hoverboards than the one he had. In the last few months and years there has been more talk about the technology that BTTF showed the world and if we would have it by the time of the actual date in the movie of when Marty went to the future. We have a good portion of everything in the movie except the type of cars and self-drying jackets but pretty much everything else we have nailed down.

We have door locks that we can open with our finger print, cable channels that number into the hundreds if not thousands, social media, self-tying shoes, and lots more that the movie couldn’t have predicted. It is important to understand how much movies shape our way of living. If it wasn’t for the idea of a man who invented a time machine in the 80s, what kind of future would we have today if we weren’t inspired and motivated to create those same things on screen. Minority report inspired us to create more air touch interactive devices.

Hoverboards
Hendo came out with a version that is similar to the Hoverboard but the only problem is that you need a floor full of cooper to help keep it afloat. Last check their website wasn’t working so it will be interesting to see what exactly happens to product or if it ever makes it to market. If you want to watch their promo video just click below.

Now another contender has entered the market for Hover technology. The industry is taking off because it makes sense. If people can travel on air instead of on tar wheels then there will be less demand for oil to make tires. In another video down below you will see a hoverbike that is gaining in popularity because it is similar to the one in Star Wars, again, another example of movies inspiring the future.

The promo video for the new contender of Hoverboard makers shows promise but not enough. The race is on for Oct 21 2015, the date Marty goes to the future. The world is racing to get many of those other items made but the world just wants their flying cars and hoverboards already. Shouldn’t we at least have those by now? Well we do and it is just a matter of time before they become another great thing to add that many people will want.

HoverBikes
In the meantime I believe this hoverbike will take off more in popularity because more people will be able to ride this then the Hoverboard. Aerofex is a contender in the hoverbike world, it works using fans to keep the person upright and moving. AeroFex has been around for awhile now but other makers are just now coming around. Watch the video below to learn more.

The latest company to enter the market used kickstarter to help raise money to get this project off the ground. The US Army is interested in working with them because these bikes can do things that regular bikes cannot. The name of the company is Malloy Aeronautics and they seem to be gaining a lot of attention recently.


The future of transportation, whether it is for fun or personal travel, will be very different than what we are used to having. The hoverbike will make it easier for people to travel over larges areas of land without hurting the ground. People will be able to move easily over land and water something a regular bike is unable to do. If these projects reach the market then more people will be able to tinker with them and improve on them. If you want to learn more about these companies click on the links throughout the article and the ones down below.

If you want to buy your own Hoverboard from the movie then you can buy one on Amazon. Just remember it doesn’t fly, yet.

News Articles

The US Army is getting hoverbikes

The US military is developing Star Wars-style hoverbikes

Facebook Malloy Hoverbike Page

 

This website helps people find work in the Sharing (Temp) Economy

The creation of the sharing economy has created a whole new line of work that was out there before but is now easier to find. What the technology of apps has done for people is open up a world of jobs that existed before, but within a limited communication field (essentially it was a who-you-know kind of world), and made them known to everyone that knows what app to find them with. Uber, Favor, and TaskRabbit have all created this new movement of microearners which has now made everyone their own microentrepreneur now. The great thing about all this is the apps let you decide when you want to work and when you don’t so you never have to worry about keeping a regular schedule. The downsize to that way of making money is if it is your only source of income then you will need to use those services as much as possible.

The sharing economy has created a whole new line of businesses (true entrepreneurs are always looking for new problems and solutions) that help independent contractors manage their time and money using sophisticated analysis tools. A typical Uber drive might believe they are making $25/hr but after taking into account idle-time, driving to pick-up and drop-off, and filling up on gas that $25/hr might actually turn out to be only $5.50/hr. There are services available now to help freelancers determine how best to use their time and which services offer the best return.

If I was working in this kind of economy I would want to know what my real hourly-wage is compared to what the company tells you. That $14/hr job working for Favor at night for only two-hour shifts might actually be only $8 bucks after you take into account how much running around you do and waiting for the next job to come in, especially if you have to drive to areas where demand is the highest but far from where you live. That would defeat the point of taking on a job like that in the first place. You would actually earn more working at McDonald’s next to where you live then having to drive a long distance just to earn $14/hr for two hours.

Managing Your Temporary Job Work
The great thing about the world of startups is that there is always an entrepreneur out there who is looking to solve a problem. In this case the problem is determining what your real take-home pay is compared to how much time you spend using apps like Uber and Favor. Many of these apps offer tools for their employees to use to help analysis their own behavior but the problem is that they are biased and do not take into account many other factors. Why should a company build a app that would show the true return on a contractor’s time using the company’s app? They won’t.

In order to solve this problem you need a third-party app that is not biased in these matters and that is where an app like, SherpaShare, comes in. The app is able to connect with the following services in order to help you determine your true hourly pay – Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Sprig, Doordash, Spoonrocket, SideCar, Postmates. How the app works is that you connect it to the app you use and it will automatically take the data from the app such as, mileage, idle-time, daily income, routes, and more. There are other manual things you can add to the app but what makes this app so unique is that it clears up any foggy business about the industry that you might have after using some of these apps after awhile. Many people wonder why they are not actually getting the fare they were promised or why they have to meet so many conditions in order to get the bonuses they were promised but in many cases they might actually be earning less once they factor in taxes and company fees.

The challenge with all this is that people can not file any compliant for adhering to wage laws because anyone that uses these apps for their main source, or supplement source, of income is classified as a contractor. This means the companies do not have to meet any minimum wage state law requirement. A driver who wishes to complain that the hourly rate he was promised was actually less cannot do anything about it because he did not fully understand all the terms and conditions. This is where an app like SherpaShare comes in and clears all that up. After a week or two of using both apps the employee has a good idea of what their real hourly rate comes out to. The app will also provide information on where their best fares came from based on the neighborhoods they were in so if they want to improve their hourly rate the app can help them do that.

Where are the Jobs
The sharing economy is something that many people are using to bring in more money because the cost of everything is going up everyday. In one article I wrote about, the cost of food is going up, I said that in order to survive in the next ten years you will need to double your income to stay at the level you are now. Many people do not know what options are out there in the temp job world except the ones that get the most media attention like Uber and Airbnb. In order to make money off of those you have to either own property or have a car that is fairly up-to-date for people to want to ride in. This is where a new line of business is popping up, one that helps temp workers determine where to find the quick and easy jobs.

The website Peers provides an online tool that lets you find which services provide you with the best options available for making money doing what you are good at. How the site works is by letting you select what you have to offer and what skills you bring to the table which also allows you to filter by what you enjoy doing. Then the website provides you with a list of options based off of each category of service and then you can go in and create profiles for people to find you. The great thing about such a service is that you don’t have to go out searching for all the different temp-work websites out there because they bring it all to you based on what you provided.

Many people take the opportunity to sign up for anything they can get their hands on. Many Uber drivers also drive for Lyft at the same time hoping to maximize their time driving. In many cases though that doesn’t turn out to be the true because of how each service works, Lyft might only provide you with more work if you have a great rating and able to take a certain number of rides per hour. This is the challenge many of these services are up against – making sure that they are able to provide clients with contractors that reliable use their service. The worst situation is assigning a job to a contractor that does not have a stellar reputation for being on-time and reliable.

The best thing about Peers is that it provides a way for people to find all the companies that are starting to offer more jobs in the sharing community. Many people don’t know all the options available to them until they hear about them in the news or from a friend. You can take the time to sign up on all the services and see where that leads you but the downside to doing all that is you have to check the services all the time if you want to catch a job that is right for you. This means being on your phone/computer all the time so you can still earn enough money each week. That can get challenging and frustrating all at the same time when you have a family to take care of or you only have access to your car at certain times.

Living the Entrepreneur Way
The idea of being able to live your own schedule is the dream that most people want. The problem is they don’t teach you how to do that in school and the skills you learn in school might change in the next five years so how does one use a system like Peers and SherpaShare to help break away from the 9-5 routine? That is where Meetup.com, Skillshare.com, and Takelessons.com comes in. The power of these websites is something many people still do not understand. Freelancer and Guru tell you what kind of jobs people are posting so if you can learn the skills needed to get those jobs then you can start teaching people how to get those skills so they can apply for more jobs.

You bring people together in classes and programs by combing the power of Meetup.com and Skillshare and creating your own school of programs. Maybe your skill is selling or accounting or design; there are tons of people who need help improving their skills everyday in those areas so why not capitalize on it? Instead of taking an online course you can create “community programs” that let people network with similar minded individuals while also updating their skills. If you do this once or twice a week that is enough to start crafting a whole list of programs to put together. People want to stay-in-the-know and keep their skills up-to-date in order to keep their job or do their job better while also expanding their network. Your network is what will help you find your next job. The more people you know the more opportunities that come your way.

The option I presented might not work for everyone and if everyone followed that idea there would be a lot more classes out there and not enough students to go around. Another great way of following the Entrepreneur way is by taking what you know and putting it into a book. Amazon and many other sties now make it super easy to publish yourself. It just takes the time and discipline to sit down and write but once you manage to write out a couple of hundred pages you can start editing it and see what works and what doesn’t and then publish. Many public libraries put on local author events for meet-and-greets so you can market your book that way or partner with other local authors and put on your own events.

Creating Your Own Line of Work
The idea of an entrepreneur is that they come up with their own line of work that supports what they want to do. It is not an easy task to start off because the risks are high but once you get comfortable enough to get out there and start talking to people every week and putting together programs that benefit a group of people you can start to refine what you are really great at doing. The core essence of what an Entrepreneur does is they identify a problem and provide a solution to it. If you know that many people in your area need a certain kind of solution and you are able to provide it then put together something that brings those people together and make it all happen.

If what Uber and Favor provide is the kind of work you enjoy doing then learn how to improve on it and see where else it can take you. What many people don’t realize is that they can create their own micro-versions of these apps in their own communities. This makes it safer and easier to use if you know that the person driving you is a neighbor from three blocks over. Creating a teenage version of Favor for community members is a great way for teens to learn how to manage their time but also find the kind of work they want to do while also making money. There are lots of people who need help but don’t always feel comfortable letting strangers into their home, even if the companies do a background check, so why not create something that pairs people up with people they know who can help? A million dollar idea right there.

The important thing to remember from all this is that you want to maximize your time but in order to do that you need special tools to help you do that. These tools come in the form of apps, excel spreadsheets, online tools, and more. You have to determine what skills you offer that will help create a change for other people. If that change is found in an app like TaskRabbit, by providing quick and easy guidance to others in need, then you should think about building a complete website that also markets yourself as that. In the coming years you will start to see more books coming out about people’s experiences working with these apps and what they learned from the whole experience.

The Uber and Airbnb model of making money has changed how apps and companies charge for their services. More and more apps are following in their footsteps of determining the right pricing models that people are willing to pay. Any smart entrepreneur would know to take those same pricing structures and use them for their own line of work in order to get more attention.


An App That Helps Drivers Earn the Most From Their Trips

Peers – Organization for Independent Contractors

The American Dream for the Next Generation Course

SherpaShare App

Teen Entrepreneurship Series Starts Today

Today starts the summer program for the Teen Entrepreneurship Program. This program is designed to teach teens and kids all about the world of business and how to get involved. We will look at ways young people are starting companies along with what areas investors are looking for. We will talk about how to create a brand and market it, both online and in person. Students will have the chance to start their own little “company” to get the practice so they can understand what it means to create something of value that people need.

The schedule and topics for the courses

  • June 2nd: How to Become an Entrepreneur
  • June 9th: How to Find and Build a Great Company
  • June 16th: Inside the Minds of Successful CEOs
  • June 23rd: Creating Your First Company
  • June 30th: How to Find Your First Customer
  • July 7th: Building a Website for Your Company
  • July 14th: Which Social Media Platform Should I Use for My Company?
  • July 21st: Should I Use Crowdfunding to Help Grow My Business?
  • July 28th: The Secrets of Running a Successful Business

Although this program is for Teens and kids, everyone is welcome to attend. In addition to the course material we will also be showing special programs in class to give students a better perspective on historical business titans and how they got started.

Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset

It is easy now-a-days to think that you have the next best idea waiting to happen. You discovered it one day when you were at a family get together and all the kids kept complaining that they didn’t have an easy way to fill up their water balloons and that it took too much time. You figured out a way to build a spout that can fill up hundreds of balloons all at the same time.

In coming up with this product you figured that the time it took to make your device was pretty simple and easy and you kept hearing from people all around you that you have a million dollar idea on your hand. You begin to reason that “yea, I do have a million dollar idea on my hand but how I do I turn it into a business?”

Glamorizing the World of Startups
The show, Shark Tank on ABC, has grown in popularity because of the ability of the producers to take what is normally a boring presentation process and turn it into something entertaining to watch. If a startup company needed an investment then they had to apply to many Venture Capital Firms hoping that a few call them back to come in and pitch their idea, which was way before the show Shark Tank.

People love watching the show because a lot of them sit at home saying to themselves, “oh I had that idea a long time ago, mine was better.” Others might say, “No, I wouldn’t invest in your company, you have no idea what you are doing!” These are common things all across the board when watching the show until you come across an idea that already been done before but in a new way. Those are the companies, with a healthy growth rate, that catch the eye of the sharks in the room. Of course many of those sharks are not all that interested in your company in the but trying to gain as much control of your company as possible in order to increase the wealth potential of their own portfolio.

So what are those Sharks thinking about when they look at other people’s ideas? Why do they act so ruthless and not care that they might offer them a lowball offer for a high equity share when it means a not-so-positive fate for the CEO pitching to them? Why? They want the product and idea and the CEO pitching has done the homework of showing them how the market is reacting to their idea. If it is positive, then with the amount of money each shark has, they can easily turn it around and make millions more off of it but first they need to own it outright or have controlling power.


In order to see why certain entrepreneurs go on to make it and why others keeping to spin in circles I will show three habits that are shown to have huge positive effect on growing your business but also help improve your work habits.

Step 1. Developing Habits
Successful entrepreneurs are different from people who call themselves entrepreneurs because they don’t really do anything except keep busy with busy pointless work. Successful entrepreneurs have developed habits that keep them out there learning about what all is happening.

One of the first things that naturally successful people do is develop a complete picture of what they want their life to be in their head. They are usually the ones to get up early and perform some habit before breakfast. The most common are writing, working out, responding back to emails, preparing a To-Do list that is achievable throughout the day, or working on a project one step at a time. People like this keep their schedule well planned out but allow flexibility.

Many CEOs and many articles have been written about what they like to do early in the morning. It is a most common trait to hear that many of them get up at 5 or 6 in the morning to start their routine. Many of them don’t pour that first cup of coffee until an hour or two later. This is enough time to get your mind and body into the habit of getting work accomplished throughout the day. People who start their day with no purpose or direction tend to putter around in the mornings going from one little thing to the next before they sit down and ask themselves, ok, what should I do today?

An entrepreneur should have their days planned out according to their week and month. For example, they know that they need to work on their website but they know that they cannot spend all their time doing that so they devote a certain portion of an hour each morning until they have to launch, or if it is already up and running, then working that hour to make sure it looks updated for people to see that the website is new and refreshed each time. This habit of updating also matches with making sure the website is growing over time. A website that looks the same from seven months ago is not a company that shows any growth or promise.

The work you do today should match what you plan to accomplish tomorrow and the work you accomplish this week should enable you to finish the work you plan to do next week. Everything is built on layers and successful entrepreneurs have a clear understanding of this but also of their time and schedule. Events that pop up are not a challenge because successful entrepreneurs understand that there are events that they just need to be at. Schedules help keep things in order but Life is what you plan around so thinking that you can just ignore certain events is not the habit of successful people in general.

Creating a habit is difficult because it means having to change what you have been comfortable doing before. Many times it just requires doing it cold turkey and not looking back. There are many, many books out there about how to change habits, many are amazing books to read like this one, but the difference between reading and doing is the act of prolonging. A book gives you the feeling of accomplishing something in small steps just to convince yourself that you are doing something but many times after the book is over you fall back into the same rut. Change is not easy but doing great things was never the intention.

Step 2. Focus on Goals with Accomplishments in the End
This is a very common thing that people have trouble dealing with. You start a project with intense focus only to get distracted by something else and you get sidetracked. You set aside the project and leave it until you have more time again to work on it. Or as you are working on your project you run into a problem that prevents you from completing your work. The obstacle in the way, for many people, keeps them from completing their work so they lose interest and start another project thinking that a fresh start is all they need. This is a common bad habit because after years have past you look back at all the unfinished projects.

Each time you start something new without finishing those old projects you create the bad habit of “doing things that are easy” but also the creating the mindset, “if I don’t like it then why should I force myself to work on it if I’m not enjoying it?” Both are big problems that keep people from doing great things but none is more so than the last one. When you reason to yourself that it is ok to only work on things that make you happy you teach yourself to be selfish in your personal habits of work. Not all work is meant to be fun and accomplishing great things takes large amounts of time to be great at them but a huge proportion of that time is meant to be difficult and strenuous. Only great people become great by doing hard things.

The most common activity all books on creating positive habits tell you is to start with small activities that can be finished right away. This helps build the habit of learning to finish things you started. When I meet people one of the things I pay attention to is listening to how they speak about what they work on. People who sprinkle excuses in everything they say tells me that they are not interested in getting real work done because “they don’t have the time.” They just want to look busy but the reality is you will never have enough time.

The habit of maintaining your schedule concise and clearly enables you to see how to finish the projects you start. You should be able to look at their schedule and see when each part will be finished so by a future date set you will be able to move on to the next phase. Take for example someone who plans on writing a book. Someone that is serious will not let anything get in the way of their schedule so they set a time that is least likely to have any other major event push it out of the way, hence why so many successful people like writing early in the morning. They might give themselves a goal of an hours worth of time or 2000 words a day until they hit 300 pages.

A project with a goal like that is easy to follow because it has a defined limited with a daily goal set so all that needs doing is the work. You will be ale to know when you will finish the book by knowing how many words fit on each page. Understand that if writing books is your work then creating a schedule is helpful but creating a workflow is more important. This is why many writers look for little get-away locations that offer inspiration and solitude on the weekends in order to accomplish more without anything getting in the way. The importance behind all this is making sure the thing you set out to do is finished because there will always be a next phase that follows. Just because you finished the book doesn’t mean it stops there, now you need to get a cover done, get it edited, and then submit it to publishing houses. knowing there will always be a next phase scares many people because it means the work never stops and why should it? People will always want more if they like it.

Step 3. Being Proactive about Opportunities
This is a mindset that is very hard for a lot of people to follow just because it means having to put yourself out there more. How many times have you met an entrepreneur who is working on their project and you tell them about something that they should attend that will help with what they are doing only to find out that they never went. Then you find out that they are simply working on their project because they enjoy it but their actions do not show they actually want any growth for what they are doing. Actions will always speak louder than words so instead of asking someone if they want to grow their business it is better to ask them how they spend their time. That is a huge indication of what their actions are saying. An entrepreneur that is just starting out by meeting people will be more successful with their projects than someone who stays home and keeps to themselves but pours a lot of money into online advertising. Which one will be more successful in the end? The one that gets out and meets people because they might meet someone that connects them with someone who can help grow their business.

The internet has enable many people to just sit behind a screen and never talk to anyone but it gives the wrong impression that that is all they need to do in order to grow their business. In the book, The Promise of a Pencil, author Adam Braun talks about how he used his friends and their friends to help throw him fundraising parties for his organization. In was through his proactive nature to get out there and connect with people to find out who would be interested in what he was doing, which was building schools in poor regions of the world that didn’t have access to education. Starting an idea like that takes larges amounts of people to help because sitting behind his computer and just running a website wasn’t going to do it. He was always attending events, talking to people, and trying to find the next person who could help and he did.

An entrepreneur who is inflexible about his schedule will miss out on a lot in life. I could easily say that I have enough on my plate to work with but there will always be new events popping up that I need to be at and if I miss them I miss what opportunities were present If I had attended. Business is still very much a contact sport and can only be accomplished by getting out there and meeting people so if you are not willing to change your life and schedule for that then why are you trying to be an entrepreneur? There are many office jobs that will suit you just fine.


These three habits can help start the process of what it takes to start thinking and acting like someone with a purpose, especially if they are trying to build a company. The sharks on the TV all come in with a purpose, which is to find the next great idea that will make them a lot of money. They got to where they are by getting up and working on their business everyday without any excuses. It’s not easy, and it is most certainly not fun majority of the time as this book made very clear about what being a CEO is really like, so the next time you make an excuse about something catch yourself and do away with it. The reality about excuses is this, you can only use them once or twice before people start to see right through them. This is because you should learn to fix the problem so it doesn’t happen the next time but when you use it again to get out of something you lose respect from people because the “action” you are speaking is that you have no control over your life so other people begin to think why should I share any new information with you when all you are doing to do is make more excuses to get out of it?

If you need more help understanding how to view excuses, which is the very reason why I have made it a point to never use them unless it actually happens, then this saying that my teacher in high school used to tell everyone that tried to get out of doing something works like gold, “Excuses are like armpits, everyone’s got them and they all stink.” Just remember that the next time someone tries to use an excuse on you for getting out of something.

A Cleaning product with a Social Impact

Gentry Lane got into the soap making business because it was an industry that she felt allowed her to take advantage of her years of experience in manufacturing but to also give something back. Her startup story is interesting for many reasons; one, she self-financed her business to help get it up and running; two, how she built her customer base; and three, creating a product that has a social impact and why that matters today.

Start-Up Stories
This is an interesting story to read and learn about because like many other start up stories, it is not immune from many of the conditions that start-ups face. As you read the story it is important to pay attention to the behind-the-scenes elements when understanding any kind of company. Pay attention to the following areas when reading

– Her Past Experience as a Business Woman
– How funding affects the early stages of a business
– What did she have to do to build her customer base
– Who would be her typical customer
– Can her company afford the social efforts
– Website Design
– Transition from multi-million dollar company to startup company

Proper Soap
Her company is all about creating cleaning products that are safe for your body and provide high quality ingredients to create a very soothing experience in the bath or shower. The idea is to not just make another kind of soap but one that has a very nice smell that leaves the person smelling nice and clean afterwards but also knowing that they helped with a good cause. Ms. Lane wanted to make sure that a small portion of each sale goes towards helping bring about clean water for some areas.

Ms. Lane worked in France for a long time and her experience there creating high quality clothing taught her the importance of only using the best goods in creating her products. After the recession she moved to the States and started a company that had a social impact but it took her awhile to find people who could create a soap with high quality ingredients. Not to her surprise she found some french people in Los Angeles that could help her create the product she was looking for. She was used to creating clothing for women that were very expensive ($98 dollars for a pair of panties) so her line of products tend to gravitate towards those with money, more or less.

The idea of her new company was to take her experience and knowledge and translate it into a company that could have a social impact on others. This is why only .50 cents of each product social is donated to clean water programs in developing areas. She also supports an NGO that helps bring water filters and irrigation systems to entrepreneurs in Africa. Her mission is to match being clean with helping others gain access to clean water.

The Trials and Tribulations of Startups
Every entrepreneur knows that finding your first customer(s) can be difficult. There is no secret to how you do it but the important thing is going out and finding them where ever they are. In this case she found that by offering samples to companies that promote products like her’s she could help build an interest and client base. The company BirchBox offers subscribers sample products every month that they are interested in receiving. This helps women (and men) find products they didn’t know about by having the company send them a package with random products that match their interests. For a company like Proper Soap this is a blessing because it makes it easier now for startup companies like her to get up and running with customers. The best part is that Birchbox has purchased her products to sell on their own website.

In an effort to keep moving forward she has also decided to use that same model of service (that many companies are now switching to), offering a subscription service, where customers can have their favorite product delivered to them every month. People who can afford these convenient services enjoy them because it takes out one less thing they have to do but it also keeps them from discovering new products in the store, making the shopping experience not just a social event but also a discovery program.

The efforts of working with Birchbox has earned her lots of reviews and more promotion through word-of-mouth. This is key to know because people like talking about products they enjoy using. Her next challenge though is trying to get at least 10k subscribers by the end of the year. In order to do that she needs to raise money to help expand. Right now she is self-funded but like with any business they need money for their business in order to grow. The frustrating thing she has found in this new economy is that apps that have hit the market can get millions in funding and she is struggling to raise money, because soap companies are not something people are jumping at to invest in, and second, she is a women with experience in an industry that is more popular in France than in the States so her conditions do not set her up in a positive way but it is her experience that will push through all that. Oh and did I mention, she is doing all of this on her own? Yes you read that right, she has no other employees to help her with any of the work she is doing. She is a true one-woman operation.

If you look at the resources she has provided her self with you will find that she is on the right track to build a very successful business. In today’s age you don’t need to know the technical details anymore about starting a business online you just need to know where to find the right service to help you. In this case she has turned to Shopify to help create an ecommerce website that provides all the tools she needs to create an elegant website. Soap tends to be associated with white because white is pure and clean so having a white website was a smart move on her part. The design was simple and not cluttered. The nice thing about Shopify is that they take all the hard work out of managing an online store. You can select your theme, determine how you want to present your products and then create an easy check out system for your customers to use.

If you visit the site you can even become part of a growing group of people interested in discounts, samples and product news. When she lived in France she ran a fashion company that was worth millions of dollars. Transitioning back to the startup phase and learning all over again how hard it is to gain a base of customers that will help make your business profitable is not an easy task. Her efforts and connections show that it probably won’t be long before we see her soap in stores known for selling high-quality products, just like Clause Porto soap bars.

Social Movement
Many companies today are realizing that if they do not have a social component to their business model they will lose customers. The reason for this is that people want to buy products that do good in this world. If you can make it feel like the customer has an impact on an impoverished nation or people some place in the world they might be more inclined to buy it.

People like doing business with companies that offer a social impact and Ms. Lane feels she has found that balance between cleaning products and providing helping to those without clean water. There is another cleaning product that offers the same solution without the need for water all together called, Drybath, where you don’t need water to get clean. The whole idea is for people to be able to stay clean when they don’t have access to water or clean water for that matter. Many companies are springing up from this idea to help people stay clean because it is so important to our health. Creating a product that makes people feel good after using it and smelling nice are just two added benefits to such a product.

The Entrepreneur Way
Finding a business idea that you want to start is the easy part, like I always say, it is the execution that gets people. You have to go out and make those connections, find businesses that want to help small start-up companies get noticed. You might find your biggest connection online or maybe the next time you are shopping at the grocery store but you have to be willing to reach other to other people and talk to them if you want to get noticed.

Another way that many famous startup companies have done in the past is simply walk in to the stores they want their product in and ask to speak to the person who can make that happen. You may have to jump through a lot of hoops to prove you are worth including in their product catalog but then again no one said being an entrepreneur was easy work. If you walk into a hundred stores and 99 of them turn you down at least you got your first customer and sometimes that is all it takes to get started.

SO….

What are you waiting for?

 


News Article

A Soap Start-Up Looks to Clean Up