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Patreon: Sustainable Income for Creators

The Internet has introduced many new career opportunities into our culture. However, it wasn’t until recently that “YouTube star” was a viable career. Thanks to an internet based startup, content creators can have a truly sustainable income. Patreon is a platform that connects content creators with their fans financially. Creators retain 100% ownership of their content and Patreon keeps a 5% fee of all revenue brought in. This is a great way for fans to support artists and creators they love. Fans can pay a few dollars per month or per post to support and thank the creators for their work. John Green, host of the YouTube channel CrashCourse, said, “Patreon is our only source of funding where passion matters more than views.” This is a revolutionary model that reaches across the boundaries of views and ads – connecting artists to their audiences and involving them in the creation process. Patreon isn’t limited to just video content – artists, photographers, writers, animators, comedians and musicians have all used Patreon to successfully connect with their fans in a way that encourages them to keep producing art.

As the Internet becomes more and more engrained into our culture, it will be interesting to watch how entrepreneurs channel its characteristics into business models. A business like Patreon would never had been possible before the interconnectivity offered by the Internet, and there wouldn’t have been as strong of a need for it before the Internet, either.

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Mentor Box

 

“The more you learn, the more you earn.” ~ Warren Buffett

 

Today our modern landscape is changing faster than we can blink. Merely a decade ago Amazon.com was something to laugh at, now it is the single largest retailer in the U.S. Hiring practices used to be based on pedigree and risk minimization, now Zappos.com offers its new employees $3,000 after training to quit (a tactic to rule out employees who do not truly wish to be there). My point remains the world is changing faster than we leymen can reasonably keep up with.

Those who struggle most from this changing landscape are today’s CEOs: Tasked with leading a company into a future. Burdened with the mantle of financial security for their staff. Expected to perform a hundred hours worth of work in a mere sixty hour work week. It is difficult to say the least.

Astoundingly it is seen that the CEOs of some of the most successful companies share one common practice, they read. They don’t just read though, they consume information at an alarming rate. Refreshleadership.com summarized a plethora of surveys from these miracle workers discovering that the average book count for a single year among the upper echelon of business was a stunning one-hundred books per person. So how does someone so consumed by business and responsibility find the time to read so much? Frankly, I think the best of the best must have some sort of genetic abnormality which relieves them of the necessity of sleep.

What about the rest of the world? For them a new venture has appeared, Mentorbox.com. This site delivers three books per month with cheat sheets and quick memorization tools so that the CEO on the go can quickly gleam the useful ideas and move on in mere minutes a day. The price tag is slightly high for the average man, but not for the average CEO. Priced at $225 per month on a monthly subscription model this service is not aimed at the average employee. Still it has caught on in the right spheres and is already a cash positive venture due in part to the co-founder’s reputation as a knowledge guru.

Tai Lopez made a name for himself (and quite a few conspiracy theories) with his YouTube ad Here In My Garage, where he stood next to his Lamborghini and bragged instead about his books on the wall. It quickly went viral and earned him a name. He was later featured on a TedTalk where he claimed to read a book a day and branded himself in that manner. With this type of personal branding he took his following and launched Mentorbox.com which immediately sold out and went cash-positive.

  1. http://www.refreshleadership.com/index.php/2013/01/average-ceo-reads-45-books-month/
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Flow Hive: How Bees Went Viral

Flow Hive Beekeeping

Bees didn’t used to be a topic of conversation. These days, we’re hearing more and more about how the bee population is in danger, and the repercussions of the bee species dying off. For years, not much was done in the consumer world to combat this. We all worried about prices of honey rising, and maybe planted some wildflowers in our backyards, but that was about it. At least, until the Anderson family came along.

The Andersons have been beekeeping for three generations. Father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson recognized a problem in the beekeeping industry – harvesting honey was disruptive to the bees, and often resulted in the beekeeper being stung. “There must be a better way,” Cedar remembers thinking at a very young age – he began beekeeping when he was only six years old. Stu and Cedar tinkered with designs for almost a decade before coming up with the Flow Hive.

Stu and Cedar launched an Indiegogo campaign in February 2015 that would quickly become one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history. Their humble goal of $70,000 was reached within minutes of going live. Flow Hive holds the title of the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo. So, what’s their secret?

For starters, they had identified a problem and pain that seriously lacked a solution. Bees were already on the forefront of people’s minds – Flow Hive offered a way for people to be connected. Stu says, “I think people saw Flow as a sort of drawbridge to connect them with the natural world.” Nothing like this product had ever been offered before, and they had an already established niche market of beekeepers – but their market extended past that because of the usability of the product. With Flow Hive, anyone could be a beekeeper.

 

The Internet played a massive role in the success of Flow Hive. They started a social media campaign less than a month before their Indiegogo campaign began. The goal was to tap into their personal networks and gain a few beekeepers, but the videos Cedar had made for the campaign went viral – the Andersons attribute it to help from friends and family and a genuine interest in bees and the concept of beekeeping. Their campaign page was clear, descriptive, and showed the passion Stu and Cedar had for their project. By the end of the campaign, Flow Hive had raised over $13 million from 38,000 contributors.

Flow Hive is a perfect example of how the Internet can exponentially grow the success and reach of a start-up. Without it, there’s a slim chance we would have heard about a normal father-son duo from Australia and their groundbreaking idea to innovate beekeeping.

Check out the Andersons’ story of the Flow Hive invention process:

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Politics, Net Neutrality, and Internet Entrepreneurship

As Internet Entrepreneurs, I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be anywhere without the Internet. Millennials can hardly remember a time before we had constant access to information at our fingertips. We’ve been spoiled, older generations might say. Would we be able to adapt to a change if one occurred?

Our new president, like him or not, will play a role in shaping how the Internet currently operates. Net neutrality may not have been a major talking point during Trump’s campaign, but it very well may be something he seeks to change during his first 100 days in office – in fact, he’s already made steps to change it. If you’re unfamiliar with net neutrality, it’s basically the agreement that consumers can use the Internet how they want, when they want – it prevents companies from charging extra for “fast lanes” or blocking certain types of content. In 2014, Trump tweeted his plans to get rid of net neutrality. Ted Cruz also voiced his agreement, tweeting about net neutrality and calling it the “Obamacare for the Internet.” Internet providers like Comcast at AT&T have generally opposed net neutrality, for reasons that aren’t hard to understand – less regulation means doors can open up for more profits.

It’s interesting to look at this from both an Internet consumer and an Internet business perspective – typically less regulation on businesses is seen as a positive change, allowing businesses to generate more profits and run more successfully. As a consumer, the idea of having to pay more so my Netflix doesn’t stop every few minutes to buffer sounds horrendous. How might this change affect Internet entrepreneurs? Could it make it harder for startups to launch via the Internet, or is it beneficial from a profits and economics perspective?

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Bouqs

At one point or another, you have experienced  the “oh no, I forgot about my mom’s birthday” frenzy and ordered an overpriced bouquet of flowers from 1-800-Flowers.

Po online flowers companies such as 1-800-Flowers or Pro Flowers, offer flower bouquets and arrangements for any occasion. Delivery is usually quick, but prices are pretty steep.

But then there is Bouq, another online flower delivery company. Bouq has taken a different branding approach. Instead of the cluttered websites with frumpy, feminine colors, Bouq has a clean aesthetic with a young spirit. Aside from their branding, you may be wondering, “how could Bouq be any different than the rest of it’s competitors?” I was asking the same question before watching this video:

Right off the bat, Bouq predict’s their customer’s biggest question. They  tackle this concern by titling their about page, “Our Difference.” By doing this, they are establishing their credibility to their customers and hopefully gaining customer loyalty.

So what are the differences between Bouq and the rest of the overpriced online flower companies? Well, there are four.

  1. Farm (& volcano) fresh flowers.  Not only are your ordered flowers shipped 2-4 days after being cut, they are also cut directly from the side of a volcano or from an eco-friendly American farm. Pretty fancy, right?
  2. Simple ordering. Bouq offers a hand crafted selection of flower bouquets from their floral experts. By charging a flat fee of $40 including shipping, they erase the chance of hidden fees and sell ups. In addition, they offer a 3 step check out method, so you aren’t mentally exhausted by the end of your purchase.
  3. Earth-loving farms. Bouq sources all of their flowers from farms who respect and love the Earth. They only cut what they sell which eliminates the possibility of wasting flowers.
  4. Subscription options. Keyword: options. Purchasing a subscription is completely optional, but will save you money! They offer 3 different packages that offer different services such as regular deliveries, pre-scheduled deliveries for special occasions, or sporadic deliveries for Just Because bouquets. With each package, you save 25% off your order.

So there you have it. When you are in the dog house for forgetting your anniversary with your girlfriend or need a Mother’s Day gift for your mom, try out Bouq!

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Due.com

 

“Freelancers need different ways for their clients to pay them, whether it is PayPal, credit card, Venmo, or other similar options. Due.com provides an easy to use invoicing system and a timekeeping ability allowing freelancers to separate projects, and invoice clients individually through many different means.”

 

Due.com online invoicing and billing software offers easy-to-use tools for creating invoices and basic project tracking. Due.com is trying to make both invoicing and receiving money seamless.  Due.com integrates with PayPal and Basecamp and invoices in multiple currencies.   It is currently only available online with an iPhone app in the works.  However, for those of you who are Android users, there has been no mention of an Android app.  I think that once they get the mobile versions running they will attract more users because for me, having things at the touch of my hands is very helpful.

 

Due.com has a freemium model and a premium model (which involves prices that I will talk about later).  The basic freemium model, as well as the paid version, includes widgets called The Dashboard Tab, The Invoice Tab, The Client Tab as well as The Projects Tab.  Each of these tabs have helpful tools in them that could help run your busy entrepreneurship life easy.

 

The Dashboard Tab includes a calendar and list of reports. It is something like a homepage where from here you are able to click to other pages and gives you a quick look at everything you’re working with at once.

The Invoice Tab gives a person a quick look at how many invoices are pending, paid, and the ID numbers all listed out neatly in a chart at the bottom of the page. They are also able to easily click to Recurring Invoices to make sure everything is set correctly. From here a person is also able to create a new invoices.

The Client Tab is a pretty straightforward feature that makes it easy to create an address book of your clients so that you can navigate to his/her contact information and find him/her easily when creating and invoice or a project. You may also notice that there is one Project associated with this client.  From here you can also go straight to The Projects Tab if wanted.

The Projects Tab has two different parts to it: Projects and Tasks.  Here a person is able to create a project and then add tasks to that project. They have the ability to add a budget, client name, due date, and can make edits and changes at any time.

 

To unlock the other tabs you have to pay a monthly fee anywhere from $10/ month, $25/ month, or $100/ month.  Looking into the paid version is something that a larger businesses would benefit because it opens up features like PayPal integration, Invoice Export Options, a Timeline of your Activity, and allows them to add other Staff members to your projects and activity. For smaller businesses or freelance work, the free version is more than enough.  Each paid version offers unlimited project, clients, tasks and invoices. The free version is enough to try some of the main features, but it only supports five clients and two invoices. Also, you cannot send quotes, run reports, create recurring invoices or use PayPal.

 

I have not tried this site myself, but after looking into it and reading lots of reviews, I would recommend looking into getting involved with due.com.  I read many positive comments from people who use it already, and I myself find this site to be very useful.  Definitely something a person who is an entrepreneur and just starting or even a big company that has been around for a while.  Whether you’re cutting grass or running a big business, Due.com could be very helpful for you.

 

“It’s so easy to use and straightforward that it actually does make things easier, which so many tool that try to do-it-all simply just can’t master. It’s intuitive, the navigation makes sense, and it automatically tracks everything for you so you know when something is completed and what’s coming up on your calendar.”

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