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How do you feel about LinkedIn’s evolution and where startups fit Into their ecosystem?

If you haven't noticed lately, LinkedIn is turning slowly into an Instagram community for entrepreneurs rather than being a place for professionals.

Years before when it was a network of engineers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and so on, helping each other, teaching others new stuff, it has turned into a bragging place where 90% of posts are people bragging and behaving as one would do in Instagram. Sharing posts how easy their startups are going, how easy their lives are turning since they started their own startups. And how much easier or better it is working on a (your) startup than a fortune 500 company.

I call that total BULLSH*T!! Those people who think startups are easy, they haven't worked on a startup before, or they are still in the idea phase, where everything is sunshine and rainbows. But startups are not like that.

Running a startup is like being in a knife fight in the prison yard. If you are not sharp, skilled, and strong, you can't survive it. (correct me if I'm wrong on this one)

More than often, the competition you have in your startup is with other startups, but sometimes, big companies with a budget far bigger than you, and with manpower far larger than you, they will try to bring you down too. These companies will fight you in tooth and nail if they are threatened by your product or what you are trying to make. And more than often is not only on the legal side. They will approach your clients, your employees, anything that would help you, they will try to take them away from you.

But this is something you don't see in the LinkedIn front page, nor in the startup groups. 9/10 posts in startup groups you will find posts of people bragging about them releasing this cool new feature, or how they raised 1,000,000 USD for their startup. But no one talks about the struggles they went through to get those done. And that is a wrong impact on the young entrepreneurs and developers who are trying to get into the start-up world. Young and unexperienced entrepreneurs get into the industry with this mindset that they will make the next million-dollar project, but they have no idea how the road to get there is.

In the start-up world, I've worked as a developer, project manager, VP of Engineering, and even as CTO (for the better part of 2 years), at some point in time, I have covered all fields of the industry, and I can tell you for certain, it doesn't get easier, no matter if you are just a developer or a CTO.

Many people think that if they have money, they can do whatever they have in their heads, but that's not true. While money is really important while trying to build your startup, your team is really crucial. And you can't buy a good team. You can't put a pice on a good team that cares about each other and as well as caring about the product/project.

But these still are stuff you don't see in LinkedIn, I have been there for years now, and in the last 2-3 years, I haven't seen one single post where they teach you how to raise a team, how to hire the right people, how to find the right co-founders for you, how to raise funding or when is the right time to raise funding and so many other questions that entrepreneurs need to know.

Building your startup is hard, long hours from Monday to Sunday. The stress, the pain, long hours of agony that you spend to build your dream. That's not for everyone. Please don't take suggestions on how to build your dream startup from someone, if they don't tell you the harsh environment you are getting yourself into.

BUT, building your startup, and bringing on board people who are good communicators would make your experience a little bit easier.

What is your opinion about this change that's happening on LinkedIn? Is it for good or bad for start-up founders to find each other, share knowledge, or collaborate with each other?

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

“People feel positive about a return to travel”: Interview with LuggageHero’s CEO Jannik Lawaetz

With less people travelling nowadays, you’d think that traveltech startups are having a hard time. LuggageHero, a global luggage storage startup, has experienced a standstill in customer activity, but has been busy working behind the scenes to get ready for when the lockdown is lifted.

From creating survey-based reports on the travel industry post-COVID, to sealing new partnerships, to just closing their seed funding round, they are poised to stay on track. We caught up with CEO and founder Jannik Lawaetz to talk survival tactics, closing funding during coronavirus, and scaling from operating in 3 cities to 40 cities in 12 months.

Hello Jannik, thanks for joining us! To start off, where did you get the idea for a luggage storage startup, and what made you go for it?

Like so many ideas, mine came from a problem I had personally faced – a need for short-term luggage storage. I saw this on both ends. When I was an Airbnb host in Copenhagen, travellers were always asking about bringing their luggage before check-in or leaving it after checkout. Unfortunately, I often couldn’t accommodate them because of my schedule. Then, as a traveler, I faced a similar problem in Barcelona. Checkout was in the morning and my plane was in the afternoon and I didn’t want to be weighed down with my bag. My host suggested asking a nearby shop keeper if he’d hold on to my belongings for a few hours. Using hand gestures, the store owner said yes. The transaction felt a little risky, but my bag was there and intact when I returned to pick it up. From there, an idea was born! Or you could call it an obsession, because from then on I got to work on the LuggageHero concept, first in my hometown of Copenhagen, then in London and New York City. Last year, we rapidly expanded to 40 cities in Europe and North America.

With less people travelling nowadays, how have you been affected, and how have you pivoted?

Of course our business of storing luggage has been greatly affected, with travel nearly at a standstill. But we’ve worked hard these past two months in order to be poised for what we are sure will be travellers’ pent-up demand.

We’ve been lucky in a couple ways. First, we’re based in Denmark, which has really taken care of its workers through paid furloughs and other measures. Also, we had already been working on a project that will give us an additional revenue stream, one that will be extremely useful when travel returns. Related to that, we’ve also reallocated resources from the expansion team into developing a new data structure to use when expanding.

Other opportunities we’ve identified include an uptick in partnerships with businesses seeking additional revenue streams. That includes property management companies to connect with and hotels and shops that would become storage partners.

Another significant step forward was that we’ve conducted and published two customer surveys about travel after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and are currently working on our third. Not only have these travel sentiment monitors given us valuable insight into how customers are feeling (cautious, but also very optimistic!), we’ve gained valuable PR exposure through publishing and promoting them. They’ve been mentioned in more than 200 news media globally, including more than 50 top tier media, such as Forbes, Business Insider, MSN and Travel Pulse.

Smart luggage storage is becoming more popular and there are a few competitors out there. What makes you different?

We’re the only player in the market to offer a fully flexible 100% self-service and on-demand solution, where travellers pay only for the hours spent. We’ve found that customers really appreciate that.

You recently closed your crowdfunding, congrats! What is your funding strategy, and why did you choose equity crowdfunding instead of VC funding?

Thanks! We’ve actually added crowdfunding on top of VC funding, twice now. The first time was early 2019 and now again this year, both times on the Seedrs platform. Other than the obvious benefit of raising capital, crowdfunding gives us an opportunity to engage with our customers, luggage-storage partners and overall network in a unique manner – by offering them the opportunity to own a stake in LuggageHero’s success. It’s really an extraordinary way to bring people off the sidelines and onto the playing field. In that manner, we have many people with a vested interest in our success: customers who use our luggage-storage service, business owners who store their luggage, and other players in the travel industry. This gives us a huge boost, both financially and emotionally. And the fact that we did this during the COVID-19 pandemic proves that people feel positive about a return to travel. That gives us quite a big feeling of affirmation and anticipation!

What do you plan to use the funding for?

The funds will be used to expand into more cities and also refine the data-driven offerings currently in development.

To create your network of luggage storage spots you must have had to create many local partnerships in different countries. Do you have any advice for founders looking to expand abroad in this way?

It’s definitely challenging to work with different cultures, customs and rules. That’s why our model includes asking our community of travellers for contacts in the countries we’re looking to open in and working with as many local stakeholders as possible. They’re the ones who intimately know a place and its people.

What has been your biggest challenge, and what did you learn from it?

Going from managing 3 cities to 40 cities in less than 12 months and making sure that we grow the team with the right skill sets. And on a personal note, doing so while having a partner and two children at home! Above and beyond, I learned that it can be done by assembling a fantastic team and by staying optimistic, realistic, respectful and passionate. We are all of those things and they have kept us going through a remarkable growth phase and now a pandemic. This gives me faith in our future.

EU-Startups

7 Common Reasons Feel Work From My Home Employment

Don’t quit your day job. Until you will you understand your passion and understand your scheme. See my strategy verse tactics Promoting article and video.

The opposite side of the advantage of having a work from home job might be the hard cash. You can add to what your family makes with a job also known as a business in your back. Many men hate the involving not increasing the family’s income. However it solve that dilemna for them in a very useful way.

Everybody wants to be extremely boss. Everybody’s tired from the 9-to-5 workplace. But even when you’re your own boss, the home business man/woman realizes these people will to be able to outsource, with the their work, or do joint ventures with others, and sometimes team track of others to make their business run efficiently and good.

Whether you shower the night before or the next morning it’s your business, you must get outfit. A well put together person demonstrates this they are able for the work day. I’m not talking inside three-piece cater for. Just get out of your bath robe into some comfortable street clothing.

It’s in order to advertise your home-based business. This will deliver you more customers which means more money for the real business. Free advertisement can be performed by blogging about your service and/or a new social media site like Facebook.

In fact, a cottage home-based clients are a great idea if you might be a stay a property mom. that way, you don’t have to be just stay inside the home Mom, you can be one substantial work from home Moms, too. Again, you doesn’t have to be Gordon Gecko to start your own company. Do something you enjoy and manage your expectations.

And then there’s the notion that you might help from your own home in your pajamas. Which one that is popular reasons for work at home businesses. Many people love the appeal to obtain to work when and where they want without even having to get dressed these people don’t desire to.

You additionally end up disappointing clients without any chances of the coming back. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a thought on a person can intend perform.

Is it normal at some point to feel like you have little to do?

My 2 friends and I started a startup, it became serious about a year ago. At that point, it felt like there were too many tasks to complete in a day. We all worked 60 hours a week including weekends and it felt like we were constantly busy.

Now, we're at about 18 employees (which is mind-boggling!), I have 7 people working under me and at this point it honestly feels like my day to day is filled with meetings (on Monday I had 7 meetings..), answering slack messages/emails, and then probably 1-2 hours/day of getting my hands dirty. I still occasionally code but that should die down within the next couple weeks.

It's also made me have to improve my skillset in areas that I previously didn't think about. I'd say that's where a lot of my attention has been going. How do I manage people better? How can I learn to communicate better? How do I improve thinking about the bigger picture etc..

It's given me a lot of time to plan and manage, which is very important, but I'm just wondering if this is a "normal" transition that startup founders go through? Are there any resources y'all have used to become better at those aspects that you probably aren't very natural at?

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

I feel like my employee threw me under the bus.. I don’t know if I’m overreacting though

About 3 months ago my team (we were 7 at the time) hired 2 developers to work under me and my other co-founder.

The one that was assigned to me is actually friends with the co-founder. We hired him for about 10-15 hours a week.. it started off pretty rocky. He would go to his friend instead of me when he had questions, and I didn't really feel like he respected me for some reason.

Fast forward, we're all working from home now and he is consistently late to our meetings. 1 meeting he was 25 minutes late.. he overslept. He does do good work though, don't get me wrong.

Anyway, we're starting to think about hiring for full-time for the summer (May-August) and I had a discussion with him for compensation. I suggested $ 3k/mo (he's a 21 year old college student), and he didn't respond to that and just asked about equity. I explained that's not up to me and that we'd probably give equity for more longer term employees. The discussion ended a little awkwardly as I'm still trying to get the hang of managing people.

My co-founder told me today that in a big group chat (with my co-founder) and several other of his friends he was saying that I had no idea what I was talking about during that meeting and that he wanted $ 4k/mo + equity (so expensive for a summer hire!)

I feel disrespected honestly.. I value trust and communication so much.. if he has a problem with that he can talk to me, but not in a group chat where my co-founder is also in…

I asked my dad and he said I should just fire him, I don't know about that. but $ 4k/mo + equity I'm pretty sure I could find someone permanent with that compensation rather than someone for the summer who doesn't seem to respect me.

Any advice? I'm still very new to managing people and I can come across as socially awkward (which he probably felt in the compensation meeting)

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

How does a board and shareholders usually feel about a founder owning other businesses?

This is all hypothetical.

Suppose that I create a startup and it becomes a success over several years. I also happen to be the CEO. Eventually, I decide to create other types of businesses separate from the original one. There is also a strong possibility that I might bootstrap them with the money made from the first company. What could be the reaction from the board and shareholders?

Take Elon Musk for example. He's involved in multiple companies. Does he have a distinct set of shareholders for each business? Is he bootstrapping some?

One day, I want to become a serial entrepreneur, but I need some insight as to how I can go about doing this. Do I need to give up control of each company to be allowed to work on new ones? Also, let's assume the businesses won't be competing against each other.

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

“Making employees feel valued and important is crucial”: Interview with CoachHub’s co-founder Yannis

Keeping your employees engaged and motivated is an important task at the best of times, let alone during a crisis.

It used to be that an offer of stability (including a regular salary, a health insurance package and pension contributions) would do the trick, but nowadays it’s a little more complicated. Employees seek a sense of purpose, belonging, inclusion and personal growth – they want to grow alongside of a community that is going somewhere, and doing something important.

So how do you address each employee’s individual growth plan? In 2018, entrepreneurs Yannis Niebelschuetz and Matti Niebelschuetz created CoachHub, a talent development platform that allows organizations to create a personalized, measurable and scalable coaching programme for the entire team, no matter seniority level. Benefits include higher productivity, performance, staff retention and more meaningful relationships.

We were able to sit down with CoachHub’s co-founder Yannis Niebelschuetz to ask him about the biggest de-motivators for teams, why founders should care about coaching their team, coaching leading to more diversity in leadership, and their survival tips during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you for joining us Yannis! We’re excited to learn from your experience at CoachHub. To start us off, could you briefly pitch us on why founders should care about coaching their team?

Coaching is proven to be the most effective people development method to ensure long-term behavioural changes and the targeted transfer of learning. Personalised coaching not only develops employee skills and improves company efficiency, but it also boosts employee satisfaction and talent retention. In times of change, individual coaching promotes successful adaptation and gives your workforce sustainable development opportunities that benefit the individual as well as the business as a whole.

Historically, coaching has only been available to the most senior employees in large businesses, due to cost and logistical challenges of hosting sessions. However, that is no longer the case, as technology like CoachHub democratises this access to expertise in a way never before possible.

You’ve talked before about the drivers behind employee satisfaction and engagement evolving over time. We’ve gone from caring about our paycheck, to wondering about the impact of our work. Could you tell us more?

There have been lots of studies linking purpose to productivity, and it’s no secret that people are now realising that money in the bank is far from the most important thing in a job. It’s not about one thing or the other though – paying well and providing tangible benefits, such as extra holiday, is still very important. But the advantage of tailoring your offering to help people find job satisfaction is that engaged employees are not only happier and therefore more likely to stay, but are also more productive for the business.

On the other side, what do you think are the biggest de-motivators at work nowadays?

On the flip side, the killer of productivity is poor internal communication. It underpins everything that a business does, and is the key to ensuring your employees feel valued and, crucially, that they know what they are working towards. A lack of belief or understanding about the bigger organisational goal, and where each individual fits within the greater team, is usually a trigger for disengaged and disinterested employees.

In a nutshell, how do you think founders can make sure their remote team members can stay engaged and productive?

Again, the most important thing is communication – it’s easy to underestimate how much communication takes place in an office, whether catch ups round the proverbial water cooler, or even just the cues we get from tone or body language. Founders should make an extra effort to have regular face time with their staff and make sure the team dynamic isn’t lost.

Making employees feel valued and important is crucial to maintaining engagement and productivity, but it is also important to remember that in these times of immense change, not everything will stay the same. Keeping to routines is important, where possible, but founders should remember that not everyone will be working from the same situation. Adjust your standards accordingly and always try to remember that there is a human behind every screen.

Given that many teams are now working remotely due to the pandemic, how do you see this playing out? And how is tech adapting to the challenge?

This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge of our lifetimes, both medical and economic. That said, I have always been a huge believer in the ability of talented people to find solutions to every challenge and this is no different. As we are seeing with the huge switch to remote working, there are a number of innovations emerging to help tackle the challenges of living and working in isolation from your friends and colleagues.

We certainly don’t expect to see everything revert to how it was, once this is over. It has taken some extreme circumstances to force digitalisation across industries, but in many cases, these tech solutions will become the established norms. This crisis has unfolded extremely quickly, so it is understandably taking a little while for technology to adapt and catch up. But it will do, and we are likely to see some significant advances in innovation in the course of this year.

How has your startup been specifically affected, and do you have any survival tips for founders?

All businesses have been affected, and CoachHub is no different. Our team is all working remotely, of course, but, given that we provide a technology solution, we’ve not seen a dip in our sales. There have certainly been some sectors where conversations have slowed, and others which have thrived. It’s a case of staying as agile as possible, being sensible with managing outgoings and, crucially, trusting in your processes, your product and your team.

The workforce of the future could be quite different to what we are used to today. What do you predict for the next 5-10 years, and how do you think HR tech will need to evolve?

The major challenge facing HR tech is achieving personalisation at scale. The core value of HR is always going to be the ‘human’; traditional analogue methods worked well on a small scale, but are ineffective in larger situations. Coaching is a prime example of this – the cost and logistics of organising face-to-face coaching means that it isn’t a viable option at scale. Equally, the human element of coaching has to remain, as people don’t want to talk to a chatbot. The challenge is how you can effectively take this human element to everyone.

AI and machine learning is developing in use cases in the sector, but are still both best applied to supplement a personalisation or human element. The evolution of HR technology will see this personalised and predictive element installed across the sector, providing truly tailored offerings to each and every employee.

Thinking now about leadership, what advice do you have for startup founders leading their first team?

Communicate and delegate. Starting a business can be an all-consuming job, and it becomes your life. But the urge to shoulder everything yourself must be tempered – share updates with your teams and trust them to do their jobs. Make sure everyone knows what the vision is and that everyone is pulling in the same direction to achieve a common goal.

Taking into consideration more diversity in leadership, do you think coaching could have a hand in levelling the playing field?

Coaching is a brilliant development tool because it deals with the individual, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. But coaching has traditionally only been open to the select few in senior positions, who are statistically more likely to be white, middle-class men. With digital coaching, the aim is to democratise personal development and enable anyone, at any level in a business to improve their skills, and therefore help the next generation of leaders to emerge.

EU-Startups

Need to let go my first guy tomorrow, I feel bad.

As above. I hired 2 casuals knowing they could suck. The one I had high hopes for can do basically none of what his CV indicates and I need to move him on as he’s a drain of my time.

He’s only done 2 shifts. He’s got a newborn and I feel terrible but he’s totally not the correct person for my team.

Help me get over the guilt please!

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

Need to feel a little more in control? Securing your WordPress site can help.

A lot is out of our control at the moment. Spending a little time now to secure your WordPress site may help you feel more in control. And we all could use a little more of that.

Related: GoDaddy guide to WordPress security

Security best practices

Businesses are relying even more on their websites right now. It’s your main method of communicating with customers, and you don’t want to lose it for any period of time. Here are a few things that are easy to do:

  • Use a strong password that’s unique. Don’t use the same password for more than one site and include letters, numbers, and special characters. Longer is better.
  • Update WordPress. Small updates are installed automatically for everyone, but you must install major updates.
    Note: GoDaddy Managed WordPress offers automatic core WordPress software and security updates.
  • Update plugins. Plugin updates aren’t part of WordPress updates. But you can find them in the same place in the WordPress Dashboard, and they take just two clicks to make.
  • Talk to everyone who manages your site. If one person is using a weak password for everything they do, it doesn’t matter how robust your site security is. Make sure everyone is helping keep the site secure.

Related: GoDaddy guide to internet security

Sucuri Security plugin

Now it’s easy to think, that’s enough. The tips above will help, but if you spend a little more time you can really take control. The Sucuri Security plugin provides a significant increase in security, all in one place, and it’s easy to use.

Sucuri is installed automatically with GoDaddy WordPress Hosting plans and can be installed for free on any WordPress site, regardless of where it’s hosted. Once you set it up, it provides some very powerful tools:

  • Security activity auditing.  A fancy way of saying it records when things are changed on your site. Most changes you don’t care about, but Sucuri helps flag things that could indicate a problem.
  • Security notifications.  Recording changes on a list for you to view later is nice. But what about things you want to know about immediately? Sucuri can notify you so you can take action. And you decide when and how it notifies you. You won’t be overwhelmed with notifications for every little thing.
  • Remote malware scanning.  Once a day Sucuri scans your site for common ways that attackers may try to penetrate a site. If it finds a problem, you’re notified of the vulnerability and how you might fix it.

That’s taking control. Visit the WordPress.org site to learn more.

Ultimate and Ecommerce WordPress Hosting

If you have an Ultimate or Ecommerce WordPress Hosting plan, they include Website Security Essential. GoDaddy takes care of most of the security setup and monitoring and helps you if something goes wrong.

Summary

While all of us are limited in what we can do to stop unwanted changes created by COVID-19, taking a little time now to secure your site will decrease the chance of additional unwanted change happening in your life.

Give yourself that feeling of being a little more in control. It can help more than just your website.


You can do this!

If you need a helping hand, we’re here for you.

Above all, have faith in yourself. We have faith in you.


 

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