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15 Entrepreneurs Who Will Make 2015 An Unforgettable Year

15 Entrepreneurs Who Will Make 2015 An Unforgettable Year

BirchBox

New York City

Founders: Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp

katia-beauchamp-and-hayley-barna-launched-birchbox-in-2010
    Photo: Birthbox

    In 2010, these Harvard Business School graduates started Birchbox. First it was just a monthly subscription service delivering personalized items of beauty products right to customers’ doorsteps. Today, the concept has transformed into a physical store in Manhattan, an online service in Canada, a lifestyle guide for men, and a women’s magazine. The two entrepreneurs’ business smarts, along with the combination mentioned above, leveled up Birchbox to an April 2014 valuation of $485 million. The company has delivered millions of boxes and has even expanded to five European countries.

    Chobani

    Location: Norwich, New York

    Founder: Hamdi Ulukaya

    greek-yogurt-boom
      Photo: MIKE GROLL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

      Speaking of rags-to-riches stories, this yogurt mogul’s story is authentic. Growing up in a semi-nomadic family that tended a dairy farm in Turkey is Ulukaya’s telenovela-like story. Before Moving to New York in 1994 to study English and business, he took up Political Science at Ankara University. As the story escalated, he bought a defunct yogurt factory using loans and business incentive grants in 2005. After running the business successfully for some time, he turned billionaire by 2012. Today, the company is set to grow its product line, as well as international reach with a $750 million loan. Definitely, 2015 is the year to watch Ulukaya as Chobani has all the signs of going public.

      In Good Company

      Location: New York, New York

      Founders: Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams

      Adelaide-Lancaster-Amy-Abrams
        Photo: Jezra

        In a nutshell, In Good Company provides a nurturing community that encourages women to work, meet and learn together. The outfit offers office space (part-time and full-time) for its members. It also organizes regular classes and workshops to educate and empower women entrepreneurs. The founders have created a unique business community for female business owners to network and access everything they need for success.

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        Hampton Creek

        Location: San Francisco

        Founders: Joshua Tetrick and Josh Balk

        hampton-creek-josh-tetrick_37758
          Photo: Jeff Minton

          Hampton Creek was launched in 2011. Why is it in the list? The food technology company works hard to discover new ways of utilizing plant produce to make healthier foods. The founders Joshua Tetrick and Josh Balk were blessed to get the nod of some big names to sign on. Names like Li Ka-Shing and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang and they have also recruited a new company VP of Data Science Dan Zigmond. He’s Google Maps’ former lead data scientist. They have four products so far, including Just Mayo and Just Cookies. This may be just the beginnings of something fabulous.

          Houzz

          Location: Palo Alto, California

          Founders: Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen

          houzzfounders2
            Photo: Houzz

            Houzz has offbeat origins: Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen during the planning stage of remodeling their home, got fed up of gathering pages from magazines. So, after awhile, they created an online photo database to ease up things when browsing for photos. Houzz was launched in 2009. Since then, it has developed into a community site that got a $165 million financing in 2014. Presently, this database features more than 4 million images, design articles, and a robust directory of more than 2 million housing professionals. Fans are positive, these figures will absolutely grow in no time.

            Instacart

            Location: San Francisco Founders:

            Brandon Leonardo, Apoorva Mehta, and Max Mullen

            Apoorva_20
              Photo: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

              I’m pretty sure you remember the food delivery service called Webvan. It didn’t really do well; partly due to the fact that too much money went into developing its infrastructure. However, in business, as they say — timing is everything — and this made way for Instacart’s success, at least, partly. Thought of as Uber of online grocery shopping, it uses the universality of people with cars and smartphones. Since orders come in, usually, with a request for products from different locations, car drivers purchase the specific grocery items and deliver them. Instacart operates in fifteen metropolitan areas nationwide and is looking to expand across the U.S..

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              LittleBits

              Location: New York City

              Founder: Ayah Bdeir

              Ayah_10
                Photo: TED Talks

                3D printing and the maker movement is getting so popular these days. Naturally, LittleBits, maker of modular electronics is taking off. The outfit offers kits for those who want to build everything from motors, light sensors, pressure sensors, or even entire coding bundles. All color-coded components magnetically and exactly snap onto another. It’s actually legos for adults — except this year, these legos are now also cloud-enabled. They also have their own app store called BitLab.

                Pinterest

                Location: San Francisco

                Founders: Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp, and Ben Silbermann

                tech_pinterest48__01__600
                  Photo: Bloomberg Businessweek

                  What, you haven’t heard of Pinterest? You must have lived in Mars for years if that’s the case. This social media site has about 40 million monthly active users. Pinterest users “pin” photos and videos to “pinboards” on their account’s pages in hopes of discovering similar things. By creating virtual storefronts that link to purchase links, businesses can join the pinning rave too. Presently, the company has a $225 million of equity funding secured in 2013. Today, Pinterest is estimated to have a $5 billion value.

                  Passion Planner

                  Location: San Diego, California

                  Founder: Angelia Trinidad

                  angelia_resized
                    Photo: The UP Lab

                    It’s a no-brainer that a woman who devotes her time helping other people to pursue their passion caught our eyes. Angelia initially created Passion Planner (a portable life coach, organizer, and a daily dose of inspiration, all within a planner) in 2013. Two crazily successful Kickstarter campaigns later, she delivered more than two thousand Passion Planners in just 20 days and in most probability will continue to change the habits of hundreds and thousands of people in the coming years.

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                    Quirky

                    Location: New York City

                    Founder: Ben Kaufman

                    Quirky (10)
                      Photo: Quirky

                      Whenever you watch TV, there’s a big chance you’ll see Quirky’s Robot Butler ads — the one that promotes the fruits of its close to two years partnership with GE (General Electric) to develop and ultimately come up with smart products that are programmable from remote locations. But, this company that has been founded by Ben Kaufman is not comfortable keeping still. After running a reality TV series bearing its name, it opened another office and has informed the public about its plans to build a mini-factory in San Francisco.

                      Rent the Runway

                      Location: New York City

                      Founders: Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss

                      jennifer-hyman-jennifer-fleiss-10
                        Photo: Guest of a Guest

                        Also Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman, and Jennifer Fleiss started Rent the Runway in 2009. The company aims to give regular Janes a chance to wear designer clothes minus the intimidating price tag. Currently, Rent the Runway has a strong nationwide presence and has stylists ready to answer queries via email, phone, and live chat. The company got $54 million in venture capital in 2013 and has grown to handle 250 employees, 200 designer partners, and more than four million customers.

                        SLACK

                        Location: San Francisco

                        Founder: Stewart Butterfield

                        Slack founder
                          Photo: kris krüg

                          Stewart Butterfield could be the most successful accidental-entrepreneur of this generation. He’s mainly known as the co-founder of photo-sharing site Flickr, which is a result of his attempt at creating a game called Game Neverending. After a while, he set out to make another game called Glitch–and, again, accidentally ended up with Slack, the group communications software. In just eight months it transformed into a $1.1 billion dollar company minus a single advert. Slack got its first chief marketing officer in November, which might be a sign that the company with over 73,000 paid users (the group includes eBay, PayPal, the Wall Street Journal, NBCUniversal, HBO and several more) is, at last, ready to have a big start.

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                          Snapchat

                          Location: Venice, California

                          Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown

                          evan_spigiel_bobby_murphy
                            Photo: Lucas Jackson, Reuters

                            Snapchat has only been running since September 2011. Many people find that hard to believe. The business’ seemingly omnipresent mobile app provide a platform for users to send time-bombed photos and video, and here’s my fave part — it gives users the option to add text and/or drawings. If I say it has absolutely made headlines, it’s an understatement. The company’s founder controversy has prompted Reggie Brown to fight, on the legal route, for recognition; the 2013 revelation that Spiegel still resides in his father’s mansion and another one — the global shocker — the rebuff of Facebook’s buyout offer worth $3 billion! Spiegel ultimately transferred to his own house in the middle of November, and despite the general disagreement of the business world and the masses, holding out on Facebook’s offer turn out to be a wise step for the company. Valued at $10 billion, Snapchat is definitely a company to watch this year.

                            Square

                            Location: San Francisco

                            Founders: Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey

                            Jack Dorsey_LH
                              Photo: JD Lasica

                              There’s a big possibility that you have run across a Square device one time or another, especially if you frequent food trucks or maybe mobile small business. Noticed that tiny piece of plastic that allows customers to swipe credit cards on smartphone or tablet? It has been transformed to be joined by an iPad docking system. Basically, it’s become a full cash register (minus the cash). The company that is co-founded by Jack Dorsey–also the co-founder of Twitter–has been around for five years and has more than 600 employees to date. Today, Square has a value of at least $6 billion. And last summer, the company informed the grapevine about its intentions to join the food-delivery market by purchasing a startup named Caviar.

                              Walker & Co

                              Location: Palo Alto, California

                              Founder: Tristan Walker

                              tristan-walker-image
                                Photo: Mashable for Gap and Courtesy of CODE2040

                                Walker & Co. are making people of color happy with its health and beauty products specifically manufactured for them. Founder Tristan Walker, who started the company in 2013, made headlines recently by getting rapper Nas as one of its investors. As you can see by now, this is not an ordinary startup. With the goal of becoming the ‘Procter & Gamble for people of color,’ Walker formerly of Foursquare, managed to raise $6.9 million funding from a group led by Andreessen Horowitz. Bevel, the company’s first product, is a shaving system for people with thick, coarse curly hair. It’s also the company’s sole product, that’s the reason why this year could be a make or break year for Walker and Co..

                                Featured photo credit: Entrepreneur/American English University via Http

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                                Anthony Dejolde

                                TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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                                Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                                Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

                                Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

                                Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

                                Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

                                How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

                                The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

                                You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

                                Physical Signs

                                Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

                                It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

                                In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

                                Mental Signs

                                One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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                                I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

                                Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

                                • The tension in your neck
                                • Difficulties with sleeping
                                • Unable to concentrate
                                • High anxiety
                                • Depression

                                If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

                                Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

                                Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

                                The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

                                Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

                                Desire for an Increase of Salary

                                The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

                                At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

                                Overnight Decision

                                Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

                                Rejected for a Promotion

                                I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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                                Bored at Work

                                Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

                                A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

                                • How long have you worked in your career?
                                • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
                                • Do you receive recognition?
                                • Can you consider working in a new department?

                                If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

                                How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

                                I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

                                One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

                                It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

                                A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

                                You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

                                • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
                                • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
                                • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

                                How to Make a Career Change Successfully

                                The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

                                1. Write a Career Plan

                                A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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                                You can learn how to set your career plan here.

                                2. Weigh Your Options

                                If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

                                You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

                                3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

                                It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

                                A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

                                • Economic factors
                                • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
                                • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
                                • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
                                • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

                                  A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

                                  4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

                                  A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

                                  • What is required to be successful in the role?
                                  • What certification or educational development is needed?
                                  • What are the challenges of the role?
                                  • Is there potential for career advancement?

                                  A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

                                  Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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                                  5. Research Salary

                                  Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

                                  It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

                                  6. Be Realistic

                                  If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

                                  For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

                                  Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

                                  7. Volunteer First

                                  A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

                                  Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

                                  Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

                                  8. Prepare Your Career Tools

                                  I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

                                  • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
                                  • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
                                  • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
                                  • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

                                  Bottom Line

                                  It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

                                  Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

                                  More About Career Change

                                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
                                  [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
                                  [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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