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8 Excellent Web Resources for Startups

8 Excellent Web Resources for Startups

startup

    In my role as editor at FreelanceSwitch, something I see a lot is freelancers interested in taking their business a step further – trading in their status as a freelancer and sole trader in order to start a company or firm in their profession. I also personally know of a lot of people who have never been freelancers, but were just recently professionals in the corporate world and are now looking to run their own businesses because they don’t have a job anymore. Good information and knowledge is vital to improving the success of any endeavor, and here are eight websites that will inform and educate you on the subject of startup companies.

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    1. The Netsetter

    The Netsetter is a fairly new, but very interesting and informative blog aimed at a particular subset of startups with its very own culture, needs and ways of operating – that is, web-based business. The Netsetter is run by Collis Ta’eed, who is a very successful web entrepreneur himself, so you can trust the advice you get from here. Since web-based business is what most of you reading this will be interested in I recommend starting with The Netsetter.

    2. VentureBeat

    VentureBeat is a blog for those who are interested in private business and venture capital. It doesn’t so much teach you how to run a business as it does provide information that might inform your decisions – as the site itself says, VentureBeat’s mission is “to provide insider news and data about the entrepreneurial and venture community that is useful to decision makers.”

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    3. How to Change the World

    How to Change the World is the blog of Guy Kawasaki who is a well-known figure in the online community of entrepreneurs. The blog covers everything from generating buzz for your business and products to what you should and shouldn’t include in your resume.

    4. Men with Pens

    Men with Pens is actually the website of a US & Canadian copy and design business, but their blog is incredibly informative and covers everything from business to marketing and the kind of copy you should be using. What I love most about Men with Pens? It’s one of the few blogs that doesn’t sugarcoat every single post so much that it takes ten times longer to read. (That’s a legitimate concern. This is a productivity blog!)

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    5. Venture Hacks

    Venture Hacks, a blog with the tagline “Advice for entrepreneurs” just in case you weren’t clear on why it made the list, is an interesting read. Unlike most business blogs, it can probably be characterized by a certain amount of brevity and morselization that is still intellectual and useful. It provokes thought rather than filling in all the blanks for you and draws your attention to good information and interesting news.

    6. The Startup Lawyer

    If there’s one type of advice to prize above all others, I think it’s legal advice. I don’t mean to say that legal advice should always dictate your actions because sure, you’ll sometimes fly in its face and do the opposite of what your lawyer told you to, but the knowledge is invaluable. The Startup Lawyer is a blog that combines that most important type of advice with the topic of startups. What could be more useful?

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    7. Independent Street

    Independent Street is a Wall Street Journal blog, yet another case of old media trying to get into new media. This particular blog is, of course, aimed at entrepreneurial types and start-ups. It seems to me that half of everyone on the web has written off traditional media sources, but I think there’s still a lot they have to offer (in fact I think the quality of print journalism is usually much better than what you get online). By reading blogs like this you can be sure not everyone you take advice from thinks Twitter is the key to your marketing plan.

    8. Inc.

    Inc. is an interesting website aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs. I enjoy it because while many blogs look at the subject from a point-of-view mired in the start-up phase, Inc. provides a more business oriented perspective that it sometimes seems is only adopted by big business. If I had to describe the content, I’d call it “strategic editorial” – it’s not step-by-step practical but it’s useful to get you thinking about where to go next.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why we procrastinate after all

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    So, is procrastination bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How bad procrastination can be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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    8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

    Procrastination, a technical failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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