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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Ways to Shore Up Your Company Finances

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Ways to Shore Up Your Company Finances

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general. Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What is one financial resolution that all aspiring entrepreneurs should make for themselves in 2013?

1. Track Your Monthly Income and Expenses

Nathalie Lussier

    This might seem a little too basic, but if you’re not doing at least some bookkeeping on a regular basis, you don’t have your pulse on your business’ numbers. Being able to look at how much money came in and went out in one month is crucial to any startup or aspiring entrepreneur. Even if you’re not bringing much in, you need to know that.

    Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

    2. Increase Your Rate of Savings

    Lawrence Watkins

      Becoming an entrepreneur can be a scary proposition, and one factor that keeps many people from making that leap is finances. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, then it can be hard to make those tough decisions that may be rough in the short term, but very beneficial in the long term. Once you answer how you’re going to eat and where your’e going to live, you can then focus on your business.

      Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

      3. Can You Really Live on Ramen?

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      Erik Severinghaus

        It’s easy to assume that if you quit the high-paying day job, your expenses will decline in tandem with your income. In reality, that’s a lot harder after you’re used to nicer meals, vacation travel, etc.

        Before you quit your job, figure out what you can really live on for two months and test your ability to stick to that budget. It’s a great way to see if you’ll be happy living on ramen noodles.

        Erik Severinghaus, SimpleRelevance

        4. Take an Accounting Class

        Thursday-Bram

          Even if you never have to do any accounting work at any company you ever start, understanding the basics of accounting will be very useful. Just being able to read accounting reports may save your bacon if there’s a potential issue in your company that your accounting software or a human accountant haven’t managed to pick up on.

          Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

          5. Create a Personal Budget

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          Derek Flanzraich

            Sometimes, amidst all the startup craziness, entrepreneurs forget to plan and organize their own finances at all. Then, all of a sudden, you’ve ordered expensive sushi delivery for dinner every night and the numbers keep stacking up. Take some time over the holidays to plan out your own budget.

            Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

            6. Join the Peer Economy

            Eric Koester

              The Peer Economy, companies that help you buy, sell, or transact with your peers (think eBay, Etsy, Airbnb, Getaround, Taskrabbit, Zaarly, Odesk or dozens others), is a great way to make money or save money. So participate—either by renting your couch out or staying in an Airbnb place when you travel; finding a developer or selling your services on Elance; or more. But just participate.

              Eric Koester, Zaarly

              7. Give Yourself Permission to Fail

              Dave Ursillo

                Every aspiring entrepreneur should give themselves permission to fail in 2013 because the greatest obstacle that every entrepreneur must (and always will) encounter is fear; especially fear of uncertainty and the unknown. When you give yourself permission to fail—financially or otherwise—you really give yourself permission to try in the first place.

                Dave Ursillo, The Literati Writers

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                8. Pay Down Debt

                Elizabeth Saunders

                  If you have personal debt, try to dramatically reduce or ideally eliminate it prior to starting your business. Having lower recurring expenses will give you more freedom to take risks as you build your company.

                  Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

                  9. Real-Time Visibility

                  Robert J. Moore

                    Establish a system to access financial data about your company’s performance on demand and in as close to real-time as possible. This will allow you to feel highly in tune with business growth and tackle challenges as early on as possible.

                    Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

                    10. Launch Their Company

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                    Aron Schoenfeld

                      Too many people network, brainstorm and whiteboard continuously and just keep adding ideas and layers to their concept. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to draw a line and say “this is our MVP and now we will build it.” Sitting on an idea does not help you or make you any money but building your idea into a product or business will help you validate it and test the marketplace.

                      Aron Schoenfeld, Do It In Person LLC

                      11. Find Great Clients

                      John-Hall

                        Improve profit through better clients. Having great clients really does matter with overall happiness of a company. Make an effort to improve profits by taking on the right clients, not just more clients.

                        John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

                        12. Keep More of the Money You Make

                        Brian Moran

                          Keep more of the money you make! Strive to make sure that your costs are under control, make customers happier, and focus on stimulating repeat purchases from new customers. That doesn’t mean becoming a penny-pincher, but if you have costs that aren’t advancing your bottom line, cut them out! A business is only as strong as the money it keeps at the end of the year.

                          – Brian Moran, Get 10,000 Fans

                          More by this author

                          9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

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                          Last Updated on July 4, 2019

                          25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

                          25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

                          Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

                          Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

                          1. Coursera

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                            Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

                            Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

                            Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

                            2. Khan Academy

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                              Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

                              Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

                              3. Open Culture Online Courses

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                                If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

                                Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

                                4. Udemy 

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                                  Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                                  Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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                                  5. Academic Earth

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                                    Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                                    Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                                    6. edX

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                                      Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                                      7. Alison

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                                        Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                                        It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                                        8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                                          A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                                          Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                                          Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                                          ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                                          9. Stanford Online

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                                            Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                                            Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                                            10. Harvard Extension

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                                              Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                                              Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                                              11. Open Yale Courses

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                                                Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                                                12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                                                  Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                                  13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                                                    Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                                    14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                                                      Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                                      15. Codecademy

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                                                        Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                                        The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                                        16. Code

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                                                          Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                                          In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                                          Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                                          17. University of London Podcasts

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                                                            The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                                            18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                                              Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                                              The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                                              19. BBC Podcasts

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                                                                For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                                                Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                                                20. TED-Ed

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                                                                  Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                                  Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                                                  21. LessonPaths

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                                                                    LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                                    22. Memrise

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                                                                      Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                                      Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                                      23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                                        The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                                        National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                                        24. Fun Brain

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                                                                          Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                                          Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                                          25. Whyville

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                                                                            Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                                            Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                                            Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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