Getting Creative Right Of The Dot

 NamePros.com: The original intention was that extensions would play a key role in specifying the type of website that would be on that domain name. Domain names ending in .com were originally intended to be commercial in nature, while .org was intended for organizations, mainly nonprofit ones, and .net was to be used for network-related applicatio…
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What are creative ways to use Google search to research my competition?

Hello all, I recently read about a creative way one person used Google to research competition.

This article showed how to do a Google search that returns all webpages that talk about the company being searched for, minus any pages on the company’s site. The theory is to then contact those websites with a press release about a new product in that same industry.

Are there any other similar searches out there that help in this same manner?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

In a Financial Rut? Here’s How 3 Creative Business Owners Mastered Money

Do you dislike dealing with the financial side of running your business? You’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs go into business to do something they are good at, or to fill a creative void. Spending time with accounting software and spreadsheets, however, isn’t often on their list of ways they want to spend their time.

The good news is, you can learn to master money, as the following entrepreneurs illustrate. These entrepreneurs demonstrate how they balance the practical aspects of running a business, including their finances, without losing inspiration.


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Master the financial basics to make better business decisions

Six years ago, Brittany Whitenack started hand-pouring candles. Little did she know that she was building a business that would continue to grow and expand. Her company, Antique Candle Co., now employs 34 people and every candle is still poured by hand. While creating and selling candles is her passion, she acknowledges that she wouldn’t be where she is today without embracing the less sexy side of her business: the financials.

Whitenack says that one of her keys to success has been mastering the financial side of her business. She’s invested time in better understanding her accounting software, she reviews her financials weekly and uses the information they provide to help drive changes as needed.

She explains:

“I spend the most time assessing the Profit & Loss Statement (PNL); specifically, the expense lines for payroll, overhead, shipping costs, and raw materials. One area I’ve specifically been targeting is our shipping costs. As an e-commerce business, it costs us an enormous amount of cash to ship candles. They are heavy and fragile, which is reflected in how much we pay our shipping carriers to ship thousands of candles every day. By evaluating the PNL, I’m able to detect any abnormalities or changes in shipping costs. The carriers like to increase rates all the time! Sometimes that’s a signal to reevaluate our carrier or negotiate better rates.”

Whitenack encourages entrepreneurs to take a hands-on approach to their financials, too.

“I would strongly suggest that you take a class to understand the basics,” she said. “If your goal is to have a profitable business—and not a hobby—then it’s imperative that you are comfortable with your finances, even if you hire an accountant or bookkeeper to help.”

Strategy: Invest in learning the basics of bookkeeping and reading financial statements to make better business decisions.


Related: Strategies for Strengthening Your Business During the Pandemic

Understanding your finances pays off during tough times

Angie Donatone is the director and owner of Sunshine Kids Day Care LLC. She’s made it a priority to know her numbers, and she says knowing her financials has been a big part of the reason she’s navigating the coronavirus so successfully.

During the pandemic, Donatone made the shift to caring for children of essential workers. She also shifted money from payroll to supplies, including purchasing masks and gloves.

“A lot of us open daycares because we have the heart for children and their families,” Donatone said. “But the majority (of entrepreneurs) who own and operate daycare aren’t knowledgeable about finances.”

Her journey to shore up her finances started in October 2019, before anyone had heard of COVID-19. She joined a coaching program called Cash Flow CEO and focused on organizing her finances, maximizing capacity, and creating another income stream. She says that groundwork was essential to allowing her to work on her business and not just in her business.

While it hasn’t been easy, her creative approach to her business has paid off:

“The business is going great,” Donatone said. So much so that she’s planning on opening another facility in the near future.

Strategy: Invest in the skills you need to work on your business, not just in it.

But, don’t let the focus on your financials hinder your creative spark

Michelle Garcia’s business, Heirloom Catering, has dealt with two crises recently: a personal health crisis last year that left the founder and CEO running her business from her hospital bed for a time, and then COVID-19 this year. Still, her catering business was one of the first in her community to pivot when the crisis hit.

Garcia’s business has traditionally worked with local farmers, ranchers and artisan food markers, and she wanted to continue to support them throughout the crisis. She quickly shifted her business to home-delivered meals, as well as a grocery delivery and pick-up service that disbursed $ 45,000 in 10 weeks to other local businesses.

She hired Kristy McDonough, who specializes in helping restaurants create new revenue streams, to run the online store that Garcia said was created “in a fast and furious way.” That, along with a PPP loan and EIDL, have helped Garcia to keep her doors open. In addition to her catering business, a cafe that was in the works when COVID hit is now open, as well.

Garcia admits it’s been tough. She’s spent countless hours analyzing her financials. She uses accounting software and credits her accountant for helping keep her afloat. She also attributes the community support she’s received as one of the reasons she’s still in business.

Lately, though, Garcia said it feels like she’s consumed with crunching numbers, applying for loans and all of the tasks she dislikes most about running her own business. While she continues to focus on her financials, she said it’s time to prioritize the creative aspects of her business again, the ones that made her want to be an entrepreneur in the first place.

Strategy: Stay on top of your finances, but don’t let them quash your creativity.


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Bottom line: Put your financials first

Belinda Rosenblum, CPA and creator of the Cash Flow CEO course that Donatone participated in, works with many creative entrepreneurs to help them master money. She has found that most people start their businesses based on a passion, but without understanding the money side of their business, they often create an expensive hobby.

“There’s no money management ‘prerequisite’ to becoming a business owner,” Rosenblum said. “No course, plan, or test to prepare you. So, you’re left to figure it out as you go, trial-and-error style. You make mistakes and learn from them, but soon realize that every single little ‘lesson’ costs you… and eventually adds up.”

She encourages entrepreneurs to take the time, no matter what stage of business you are at, to get a better handle on the money flow in your business.

“Knowing your numbers and strategically growing your profit are essential to creating a sustainable business,” Rosenblum said.

She also added that getting a clear handle on your finances can help you to:

  • Determine the right revenue streams to pursue and the necessary actions to take each day toward achieving your goals.
  • Know your value in the marketplace and charge accordingly.
  • Spend on items for the best return on investment for your growth.
  • Plan for profit and not just for revenue.
  • Maximize your time doing what you love (and what you’re great at).

You’ll never be nearly as successful as you can be until you know your numbers, and until you know how to manage them in order to align with what matters most to you and your business, Rosenblum explained.

“You can create income for yourself and create impact with your talents and skills,” she said. “They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Money can help fund both.”

The post In a Financial Rut? Here’s How 3 Creative Business Owners Mastered Money appeared first on StartupNation.

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Creative use of a .WORKS domain – HowHTTPS.works

 MorganLinton.com: We all use https pretty much all day every day since in 2020 just about every website you visit will use it. Of course, you use a lot of things in your daily life that you probably don’t truly understand and HTTPS might be one of those things. Of course if you’ve been in the […]
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Vimeo and Outfest celebrate the stirring work of multi-talented creative ZBKPhotos.xyz

 Gen.XYZ: ZBKPhotos.xyz – eNom / Open SRS customer (United States) One of the best ways to feel greater satisfaction from working on your creative passion projects or hobbies is to share your work with others through a personal website. Even if you have many varied interests and skills, you can increase the joy you get from […]
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What’s the best way to approach tech startups to pitch our new creative agency’s services?

We want to help pre-seed tech startups succeed by taking care of their creative work. Finding out who they are is relatively easy, but what's the best way to approach them? Are cold emails ever effective? What about LinkedIn messages to whoever's in charge of their marketing?

How do we show that we offer a valuable service without being annoying or getting lost in the flood of unsolicited crap they inevitably have to wade through?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

When COVID-19 hit, these creative entrepreneurs hit the web

This article originally published on GoDaddy’s Venture Forward website.

While the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has shuttered tens of thousands of small businesses and sent entire economies into tailspins, one cohort of entrepreneurs is proving surprisingly resilient. And, in turn, they’re creating economic stability in their local communities.

They are the operators of millions of digital domain-name websites that GoDaddy, which hosts the sites, labels “ventures.” Our multiyear research project, Venture Forward, found these often-overlooked and uncounted participants in the digital economy helped regions recover more fully from the 2008 recession, and are creating the same sort of buffer during the current crisis.

Ventures are, of course, as diverse as the country they reside in. They’re in every state. They’re rural and urban. They’re run by women and men, full-time business owners, students, retirees, military personnel and part-time workers. They come from every ethnicity and education level.

While the ventures themselves — sometimes just one person working out of a motel to sell handmade candles — are less visible to neighbors and to policymakers who can help them, their importance to their local economies is beginning to emerge. Here are three of their stories.

Related: Online micro-businesses can be an easy economic win for local governments

Out of the fire and into the frying pan

When Zach Sass was laid off from his job as executive chef at a popular Nashville restaurant — a touristy gastropub on the city’s famed Music Row that closed in March — at first, he panicked.

“I have a son, a house, a car, I have bills to pay,” says Sass. “My whole environment came to a stop. That was terrifying. I didn’t know what my next step should be.”

But then came a call from his best friend — “who’s a terrible cook,” Sass says — asking for advice on what to make his girlfriend for an anniversary dinner. Sass hopped on a video call and, using what the guy had in his kitchen, “we made an amazing meal and had a lot of fun chatting,” he says.

That virtual hangout birthed a business. Sass now runs an online venture, Chef Zach Sass, where he teaches homebound chefs how to cook a meal with whatever they have on hand.

“We didn’t want people to have to go out and buy things” during the pandemic, says Sass.

 

Instead, he has students send him pictures of whatever is in their refrigerators, freezers and pantries. Then he comes up with a recipe and gives them a virtual cooking lesson at home.

Since starting in mid-March with only his laptop, a Facebook Portal camera and zero technical savvy, the 31-year-old Sass has taught 50 or more classes. He syncs up with students as far away as Toronto and Mumbai, who pay him in donations that range between $ 25 and $ 350.

In the past three months, he’s pulled in at least $ 5,000, he says. It’s enough to provide a primary income to support himself and his 6-year-old son, whom he cares for full time during the week.

Like many ventures, Sass struggles with marketing, but has found success through social media platforms, media coverage of his business and, more recently, with Facebook and Google’s paid and targeted ads. “It’s all about marketing and putting yourself out there as much as you can,” he says.

To grow his business, Sass needs something he’s never had to seek before — capital. “I definitely want to expand as much as possible and get to a point where I can add more classes and help some of my fellow cooks who are in limbo,” says Sass. “If I can get to the point where I can make this bigger, I can branch out and help them,” he says.

For Sass, the current crisis has actually forced him into the future.

 

“I knew at one point in my career, and even from the time I was a child cooking with my Italian grandma, that I would end up owning and operating a business around cooking,” he says. “As I’ve always been a chef for other restaurants, I didn’t expect it to be so sudden. But here it is.”

Quarantine and chill

A year ago, the last place Kay Luttrell, a 24-year-old U.S. Navy yeoman, expected to find herself was trapped in a motel room surrounded by partly dried candles. Yet because of COVID-19, that’s exactly how she’s spent the past few weeks.

Luttrell was in Virginia Beach, Virginia, when her base sent all non-essential personnel to work from home in April. By late June, as Luttrell waited for her next posting to start, she was holed up in a motel in nearby Suffolk.

But the crisis proved to be an opportunity.

 

Being home, even a temporary home, allowed Luttrell more time to focus on her online venture, Unlax Candles (a combination of unwind and relax). She had started it in December 2019 as a way to help over-stressed people like herself “chill,” as her website says.

Prior to the pandemic, web traffic and purchases had been rising steadily. Then, with more time on her hands during the pandemic, she took online candle-making classes and found a mentor in the business to advise her on growing her venture. Leading up to Mother’s Day, her mentor advised her to stock up on supplies because the holiday is a busy one for the candle industry.

Not anticipating how the pandemic would impact her business, Luttrell waited too long to purchase supplies. Her vendors — for soy wax, essential oils, glass jars and even shipping — couldn’t fill orders. Many were forced to close their doors or limit accessibility, causing delays for weeks.

Lesson learned: Luttrell shut down marketing ahead of what should have been her biggest sales day of the year. To keep momentum, she over-ordered her next batch of supplies, launched a new collection of candles, and adjusted her online marketing to focus on relief for anxiety brought on by COVID-19.

Today, Lutrell sells candles with scents like Pineapple Sage, Caribbean Teakwood and Sea Salt + Orchids for $ 15.50 apiece and wax melts (scented cubes that place on wax warmers) for $ 6. She offers discounts for bulk orders. Her business has grown from about 100 orders per month to about 800 per month, accounting in one recent month for $ 30,000 in revenue.

The biggest part of her business appeal, Luttrell says, is her personal story about battling anxiety, which she shares on her website and across social media, her primary marketing platform. “I felt like I had a unique story to tell, and if I told it people would respond,” she says.

Recent media attention for Black-owned businesses like hers, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, has given her an additional boost. Luttrell has been featured in three popular blogs.

“I had someone contact me recently from Microsoft and put in an order for 1,000 candles so she could send them as a nice gift to her employees who are working from home,” she says.

Luttrell’s ultimate vision, she says, is to go brick and mortar. “I would like to have a candle studio and bar,” she says. “People could come in and make their own candles but also still purchase some of mine. I’d host workshops, like a girls’ night or date night, and maybe post lessons on YouTube.”

How to sell art without wine and cheese

In a youth-oriented culture, it’s not easy getting older. Patti Curtis knows this well. For years, she worked as a product development executive in the cosmetics industry. Three years ago, at 53, after she was laid off, she decided to start a business where she could celebrate the achievements of people her age.

She rented a small space in Seattle’s gritty Georgetown district and opened the slyly named Fogue Studios & Gallery (for old fogey). It’s a non-profit that features only artists who are 50 and older. Her venture quickly expanded into a 6,000-square-foot space with 36 artists, propelled in part by Curtis’s website and marketing savvy. But then, in March, the city ordered businesses to close.

Like many brick-and-mortar outfits, Curtis turned what had been solely an online marketing presence into a shopping destination. She began offering virtual gallery tours and, after adding a shopping cart feature to her site, she now sells art exclusively online.

Fogue Studios is among many small businesses in the U.S. that are also considered ventures, and an example of an entrepreneur adopting digital methods to do business.

That’s not to suggest it has been easy: In April, while operating solely online, Fogue’s sales dropped 90% from the same period in 2019, says Curtis. Since then, sales have rebounded to 40% of what they were last June.

“It’s a tough sell convincing people to buy art online,” says Curtis. “It’s an event-driven business where you rely on openings and local art walks that can draw in 300 people in a day to drink wine and eat cheese. But the online sales have been enough to help my artists during this time.”

What could help more, she says, is the city stepping in to help entrepreneurs. For instance, it could offer tax breaks to landlords who rent to ventures that give back to the community.

“Helping businesses that are struggling, to give us a break on our taxes or the rent we pay is such a no-brainer,” she says. “Anything that would make us look more attractive to a landlord.”

In the meantime, Curtis is planning to use the impetus of the crisis to nudge her forward. She hopes to turn Fogue into a lifestyle brand, selling things like clothing to her mostly 50-plus customer base.

“I think there’s a big category for selling to people over 50 that most marketers overlook,” she says. “My motto is kind of like, ‘If not now, when? If not me, who?’ That’s the kind of person I am — a risk-taker. I put fear aside.”

The post When COVID-19 hit, these creative entrepreneurs hit the web appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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Creative Funding Ideas

Hi Everyone – I’m sure you’ve seen this post a lot. I’ve done some searching myself and came up on a few ideas.

I’m currently building a web-based platform, think Glassdoor but for diversity and inclusion. It’s pretty robust it will cost a decent amount of money to build. I’ve been introducing myself to VCs, introducing the idea and they love it. But I’ve been told at this stage its best to bootstrap it to atleast get the platform built, which I agree with. I just don’t come from money where asking friends and family for a couple thousand is feasible.

I’ve been thinking about trying to get a loan. I’m confident we’ll make any start up costs back once it’s ready. I also saw a post on here where someone suggested getting deposits from customers, explaining the stage you’re in and offering a discount for opting in early. Sounds interesting?

Anyway, does anyone have any ideas for getting an extra $ 20K to get this off the ground?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Government Agency is interested in my creative content!

I recently started a podcast about the future of work. The reason for starting a podcast is to develop personal branding. Its been only 3 episodes and my boss liked my idea of a podcast, and he has offered me a better outreach if I do it as a PR for the job I do. The only condition he has put forward is that it should have an element of climate in every episode. I have the freedom to choose, how I can bring that in. I am confused if I should take up the offer and would like suggestions from the community.

Listing down the pros and cons that I have already mapped for the offer:

Pros:

  1. I work with a government agency, so outreach will be high. It will include top management as well as professionals. I am estimating, a monthly reach of at least 10-20k people in the field. Organically, I can reach 1-3k people and would take a long time to reach these many people.
  2. The work will be included in my work time, so basically I am getting paid for what I started as a side gig.

Cons:

  1. Being a government agency, and my contract states that all the work I do is the property of the government. So I lose the copyright to the content. Is it possible to renegotiate this? I do not mind joint ownership so that I can use the content for my own purpose in the future.
  2. The content can't be controversial and I fear that the content and the kind of interviews I do will change, to cater to the work. This might lead to me losing interest in development of podcast in future.

General comments:

  1. I have hosted it on anchor.fm and I planned to monetise it in the future. Who now gets the sponsorships?
  2. Chances of getting into legal cases get higher as the content is being spread through a government agency.
  3. I am only on contract for the next 5 months. What happens post that? I am not sure if my contract will be extended or if I find any other good opportunity, I can shift to another agency/organisation.
  4. As the content will be spread through government channels, can I still increase my personal branding? How to integrate my website or LinkedIn page for future work engagements.

Let me know if I am missing out on any points or your suggestions for the choice I can make.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

NASA and Samsung collaborator SamLavoie.xyz shares his creative process through his .xyz website

 Gen.XYZ: SamLavoie.xyz – eNom / Open SRS customer (United States) It’s no secret that .xyz domains are popular among members of the design community. Rosch.xyz creator Ronny Schmidt says he chose a .xyz thanks to its perfect connotations with his 3D design work for Nike and Red Bull. Fashion designer DamoWang.xyz says he loves his .xyz …
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