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Revealed: Successful Young Entrepreneurs’ Secrets to Making Their Dreams Come True

Revealed: Successful Young Entrepreneurs’ Secrets to Making Their Dreams Come True
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Do you ever feel that you are investing in the dreams and success of others while neglecting your own? You punch a clock day in and day out, earn a meager pay-check for performing mundane tasks far beneath your capabilities, and for what–to help catapult someone else to success? If so, you are not alone. Many people are trapped in a cycle of chasing someone else’s dream for them, while theirs go unrealized.

Being an entrepreneur is the sexy new trend these days. Everyone seems to be doing it. What if you were to gain the necessary capital needed to launch your own business- would you? Or would the fear of failure stop you dead in your tracks?

If you chose to heed fear’s warning, you may be smarter than you think. Your fear is rational and not without merit. Building a startup is hard. That’s the tough reality despite all of the hype, glamour, and sexiness surrounding entrepreneurship. Statics show that over 90 percent of startups fail. [1] The odds are not in your favor.

10 young entrepreneurs show us how to achieve success

What about that small 10% who do manage to become successful? Their success is not accidental nor did it happen by chance. These young entrepreneurs prove that success is possible despite the odds. Everyone — from the young budding business person to the one looking to get out of debt — can learn something from these savvy upstarts.

1. William Zhou, Co-founder and CEO of Chalk.com

    Lesson: Connect and care.

    Chalk.com is described by Forbes as “Microsoft for teachers.” This education-based software company was birthed out of William’s desire to assist overworked, overburdened educators. His company has created software that simplifies lesson planning, assessments, and the evaluation process for teachers.

    The lesson we can learn from William is that it is important to connect and care about your customer. His primary motivation for starting this company was to provide a service to help teachers and not just to earn a great pay check. He ended up doing both.

    2. Brennen Byrne, Co-founder of Clef

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      Lesson: Keep the right people and stay away from the wrong ones.

      Clef is a replacement for usernames and passwords. The technology works through phone cryptography, eliminating the need for passwords and making logging in quick and safe.

      In an interview with AL.com,[2], Brennen cites hiring good people as one of the most important aspects that helps perpetuate his company’s success. This lesson applies in life and especially in business. You must keep good people around you. Conversely, once you find that a person doesn’t fit the company character and vision, nix them quickly. You can’t afford to wait for a person to bloom, nor can you afford to keep an employee who doesn’t support your mission.

      3. Adam Lipecz, Co-founder of Codie

        Lesson: Focus on one idea at a time.

        Codie is a toy robot and web app that introduces and teaches kids how to write code. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Adam describes Codie as being like Legos for architects.

        Adam is an idealist. He has tons of great ideas all of the time. His success has come from learning how to focus on one big idea at a time and incorporate smaller ideas into the larger one. He is confident that he will create a ton of innovative gadgets because he has the discipline to throw all of his time, energy, expertise, and resources into each idea at the appropriate time.

        4. Daniel Fine, Co-founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies

          Lesson: Passion and drive are essential to sustaining long-term success.

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          Daniel Fine is founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies. These companies include a sunglass company — “Glass-U”, a medical app — “Dosed”, and a tutoring firm — “NexTutors.” Team Brotherly Love has raised over $2 million for Type-1 diabetes research. Glass-U makes fully-folding sunglasses and is licensed to hundreds of universities. It has been featured at events ranging from The Rose Bowl to Lollapalooza.

          In an interview with the Huffington Post[3], Daniel says that passion and focus are the two keys he attributes to his success.

          “Those are probably the two most important things that if anybody has they’ll be able to achieve something. You need the passion and the drive in order to achieve something. Early on, you can create things without being incredibly passionate about it but you can’t consistently create things without being passionate about it. Focus is probably the next thing by a very, very close shot. The focus and drive overlap are two things that are just so necessary for you to be able to create what you’re shooting for. “

          5. Sam Shames, Co-founder of Embr

            Lesson: Your must work hard, but your work should capitalize on your strengths.

            Sam Shames is not new to success. From his college days as a star wrestler at MIT to his inclusion as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30[4] in 2015, Sam knows how to win. As a student at MIT, Sam engineered the core technology for his signature product: Wristify. Wristify is a wearable device that helps regulate temperature. It recreates the relief you feel when you warm your hands by the fireplace in the winter, or the cooling sensation you experience when you pour cold water over your head on a scorching summer’s day.

            Sam believes that you should do what you love and it should be something for which you have a natural aptitude. He was built for everything he does. Sam believes in embracing and leveraging his unique set of skills, abilities, and aptitudes. He embraces hard work but believes that work shouldn’t go against your grain and should capitalize on your strengths.

            6. Nanxi Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Enplug

              Lesson: Go “all in” with your eyes wide open.

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              Enplug is technology that transforms any digital display (TVs, jumbotrons, billboards) from a static, one-way communication channel into an interactive and real-time display.

              The entrepreneurial life is notoriously filled with risks, stresses, and sacrifices. Investing your life into a company at a young age is risky but the idea of taking risks is the fuel that propels successful entrepreneurs to keep moving forward. They don’t want, nor do they expect, failure but they understand it is a part of the process. To them, failure is a bump in the road- not the end of it. Expect it. Embrace it.

              7. Becca Goldstein, Co-founder and COO of Fever Smart

                Lesson: Always look to learn.

                Fever Smart is a non-invasive, real-time temperature monitoring system. It is a preventative solution that enables users to head off potentially dangerous health issues through early detection.

                Becca is a bit different from our other entrepreneurs. She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life so instead of staying in college she took a year off to travel. Why? According to her, she knew she wouldn’t find the answer to the question, “Why am I here?” in a classroom. Becca, like most successful young entrepreneurs, will tell you that she doesn’t know everything but she is open to learning. Her secret to success? She is a true connoisseur of knowledge.

                8. Gabe Blanchet, Co-founder and CEO of Grove

                  Lesson: Master the art of creating win-wins.

                  Grove is built on the belief that all people — regardless of location, climate or season — can grow their own healthy food right where they live. This business empowers people to actively participate in eating healthier while eliminating negative effects to the environment such as soil erosion and contamination of water runoff, and helps slow down the effects of climate change.

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                  Gabe believes in having the best of both worlds. He and his partner are concerned with the state of the environment, mitigating hunger, and providing people with the technology that allows them to be proactive and productive in sustaining their health. They do all of this and they turn a tidy profit. He believes in helping mankind while building a powerful brand through savvy business processes. The takeaway from Gabe’s model is that your business should be a win-win.

                  9. Sarah Tulin, Co-founder and CEO of Oxie

                    Lesson: Don’t discount small ideas.

                    Oxie is an air purifier that you wear. It couples aerodynamic technology with a sleek design to protect users from air pollutants such as traffic smoke, pollen, and germs.

                    This genius idea was birthed after Sarah was assaulted by a huge cloud of bus smoke on her way to work one day. That one event has changed her life. She was able to combine her love and appreciation for fashion while simultaneously fulfilling a need. She believes that ideas — even the small ones — should be explored.

                    10. Caroline Pugh, Co-founder and COO of VirtualU

                      Lesson: Believe in yourself.

                      VirtualU integrates 3D human modeling technology with fitness and healthcare. It enables people to accurately track how their bodies change as they work out. It shows you exactly where you are losing weight and gaining muscle — in 3D! It also is being adapted to help people make more accurate selections when shopping for clothes online.

                      Caroline’s company’s mission is “to blur the lines between virtual space and reality to make the online experience as real as possible.” That is a pretty lofty goal, even for the most tech-savvy individual or company. Yet she states it with conviction and chases it with tenacity. Her mission statement truly is her mission and not just a group of words used to build a smoke screen brand. She believes in herself. She believes in her mission. She surrounds herself with those who believe in her and who push her to work harder and be better. Her belief in herself is what pushes her to keep going and makes the impossible plausible.

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                      These are the secrets of ten young entrepreneurs who have beaten the odds. If you have ever felt that you are investing in the dreams and success of others instead of pursuing your own and you decide to start your own business, there is much to learn from these ten successes.

                      Reference

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                      Published on July 27, 2021

                      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

                      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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                      During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

                      But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

                      Put the Pro in Professional

                      After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

                      1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

                      The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

                      Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

                      2. Dress the Part

                      While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

                      Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

                      For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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                      Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

                      3. Stage Your Workspace

                      Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

                      Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

                      4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

                      Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

                      Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

                      Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

                      Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

                      5. Arrive on Time

                      In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

                      Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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                      6. Turn on Your Video

                      Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

                      If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

                      Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

                      7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

                      Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

                      Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

                      Attend to the Pesky Details

                      8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

                      With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

                      Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

                      9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

                      Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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                      Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

                      10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

                      As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

                      Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

                      Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

                      Talking Has a Time and a Place

                      11. Chat Appropriately

                      Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

                      At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

                      12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

                      The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

                      Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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                      13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

                      In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

                      Manage Yourself

                      14. Minimize Distractions

                      While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

                      Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

                      15. Save Snacking for Later

                      Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

                      However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

                      Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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