Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Ask SCORE: How can I win in the gig economy?

The “gig economy” — the market for individuals providing services or working on projects on a freelance on-demand or short-term contract basis — has been a growing trend. While there are no official gig economy statistics available to measure its prominence, we can make some assumptions about its increasing popularity based on other available data. 

According to information reported by the United States Census Bureau, the number of non-employer businesses, the group of individuals most likely to work on gig basis,  was 24,331,403 in 2015. That’s 10% more than the 22,110,628 non-employer businesses in 2010.

And opportunity abounds for independent professionals who take on gig assignments. Many businesses outsource work to independent contractors and freelancers when their staffs are overwhelmed and to avoid the costs of benefits and ongoing payroll that come with hiring new employees.   Continue reading

10 Best Podcasts for Solopreneurs

podcast on mobile phoneOne of the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a solopreneur is the need to be constantly learning. Of course, every day has its own lessons to teach—trial and error is the heartbeat of solopreneurship, after all. Sometimes, though, we need to turn to proven mentors and leaders who can offer wisdom from experiences that reach beyond our own.

When we run into these situations, books seem like the obvious first choice. Indeed, there’s a book out there for any problem you may encounter, whether procrastination, apathy, branding, or crippling self-doubt. Besides, shouldn’t we be reading like fiends anyway? It’s common knowledge that the most successful business leaders all share a ravenous appetite for good books.

But what solopreneur has time to read a book every week? Between brainstorming and producing and networking and marketing, it can be hard enough to make time to eat breakfast. Granted, reading is still a great habit to develop, but it may not be your primary mode of on-the-go education.

Thankfully, the world invented podcasts.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can veterans excel as entrepreneurs?

In the course of serving our nation, veterans learn valuable skills and self-discipline that they can carry through to their post-military careers. One professional path that many veterans take is entrepreneurship. 

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, in 2012, the number of veteran-owned businesses was 2,521,682 (9 percent of all companies in the U.S.). Those businesses employed over 5 million people.  Continue reading

Entrepreneurship is not a solo adventure.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

entrepreneursThe most successful entrepreneurs figure out early on that they are not alone, that they are not infallible and that they need people better than themselves to do certain things.

However, we often have this vision of the entrepreneur as a superman or woman, slaying all the obstacles on the path to greatness all on their own. I’m here to tell you that image is simply not true. If it were, we would only be building companies of one and the term solopreneur would be all the rage.

Entrepreneurs do have good ideas and often strategies for putting their plans into motion. They often have a unique or different vision that others have not imagined yet but what they cannot do is single-handedly make it happen.

I’m reminded of this as I start the new class of Seattle Emerging Leaders at the SBA. These are businesses who have been operating for at least 3 years but at some point, became stuck and could not get past a certain stage of development. As this year’s class introduced themselves to one another, two very similar narratives emerged.

First, they were greatly relieved to be with other entrepreneurs like themselves who felt more or less alone. Realizing that everyone in the class was having the same experience was an eye opener for all of them. Secondly, they realized that part of their struggle was that while working in the business they rarely, if ever, had time to work on it so accountability for that went out the window with the pressing challenges of each day.

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website

Should your startup business get a loan?

approved small business loan applicationMany startup small business owners take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and not using financing to get their companies off the ground. But that approach can backfire, a new study in the Journal of Corporate Finance suggests.

The study, conducted by Florida Atlantic University faculty, assessed what happened to companies that took on debt during their first year of operation.

The authors discovered businesses that took on debt are more likely to succeed (as long as they use business debt as opposed to taking on personal debt).

What’s more, they’re also more likely to achieve higher revenues.  Continue reading

Good leaders go positive.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

be-1-300x300Good leaders know that inspiring people has a lot to do with focusing on the positive vs. the negative. Unfortunately, many of us are predisposed to focus on the negative and give it more worth or value than the positive. Alison Ledgerwood, a social psychologist does a great job in this TED talk showing us how that works.

Essentially, once we focus on the negative, we are much less likely to believe anything that proves otherwise. When asked how our day was we generally start with the negative. When asked how a project is going, we typically respond with what is not working. When asked how a team is performing, we often reply with explanations of how it’s not. Who knows why we do this? Preservation perhaps?

The end result is that we are discounting that which is good and leaving opportunities for happiness out in the cold.

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website.

How Good Is Your Revenue?

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

A dollar is a dollar. That’s true. And, all revenue is equal. Right?  Well no, not in an investor’s or potential buyer’s eye. So what makes some revenue good and other revenue not quite as good?

1. Recurring

Recurring revenue is highly desirable because is it known and predictable. The best example of this is an auto-renewal fee or service charge periodically charged directly to a customer’s credit card. Once the initial sale is complete there are no more costs to acquire a customer. The revenue stream is much like an annuity. Continue to provide the goods or services as promised and the revenue keeps coming in.

Great examples of this are insurance premiums and streaming fees. Once customers have decided to purchase the product – and assuming they remain content, they are happy to have their credit card billed automatically.

In contrast, consulting and attorney fees are often one-time in nature. Revenue ceases when the project is complete and the engagement ends.  Continue reading