By Mark Hamstra on August 27th, 2015 | Comment on this post

This post is sponsored by PayPal.

Bank loans and venture capital continue to be popular funding sources, but they do not work for every entrepreneur. Some startups are turning to crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional loans and a means to get their businesses off the ground.

But simply creating a cool new product or service is not enough to attract contributors through online crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. A successful crowdfunding campaign requires extensive, thoughtful planning and focused marketing to attract and engage supporters, combined with hours of intense, hands-on work.

Just ask Helmut Wyzisk III and Jeff Becker, co-founders of Earhoox, which sells soft, silicone attachments that hold earbuds firmly in place. The company started in 2012 and raised almost $10,000 in a month-long Indiegogo campaign.

“Looking at the landscape of crowdfunding now, and knowing what we now know, I think we could do 10 or 20 or 30 times what we did in that crowdfunding campaign,” Wyzisk said.…

(read more…)

By on August 27th, 2015 | Comment on this post

When leaders blow up, lose their tempers or let their emotions get the better of them, they can quickly develop a reputation as volatile, moody, defensive or having a lack of leadership presence.

Unfortunately, all it takes is one public outburst. When coaching leaders who have received negative 360-degree feedback about composure, I’ll ask them when the last time they lost their cool was. In most cases, it’s on a rare occasion, maybe months ago. However, people remember, and it becomes a tough reputation to overcome.

Maintaining your composure can be hard! Emotions serve us well, especially in dangerous situations. Chemicals are triggered that enable us to run away from or fight an angry bear. Which serves us fine if we are in the woods confronted by an angry bear. Not so good when confronted by an angry co-worker in a meeting.

So what can you do to overcome the urge to throttle your co-worker that says something that sets you off?…

(read more…)

By Drew Neisser on August 27th, 2015 | Comment on this post

It’s probably no secret to you that, “When it comes to trust, third-party and word-of-mouth sharing has always carried more weight than advertising,” as Bryan Kramer reports in his insightful new book, Shareology. What may be more mysterious is exactly how you (the personal you and/or the corporate you) could share more effectively. Here are six ways to up your sharing power gleaned from Kramer’s in- depth study:

Listen Up
As the CEO of an agency that promotes “social inspired marketing,” it’s little wonder that I’d call out listening as a prerequisite to power sharing. Kramer reminds us early in his book that, “If there’s one thing we should all practice more, it’s listening.” But rather than leave this as a nebulous no-brainer, he advises that, “Gleaning actionable information from escalating online babble requires a comprehensive strategy and structure.” Importantly, listening needs to become a discipline unto itself.

Clear Up
Effective sharing, whether at cocktail parties, business meetings or on social channels, requires a clarity of purpose and voice.…

(read more…)

By Young Entrepreneur Council on August 26th, 2015 | Comment on this post

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our newsletters on small business and entrepreneurialism.

Q. What is your favorite tool, question or review style to determine overall employee happiness and engagement at work?

yec_Joshua Dorkin1. Taking regular walks with staff

One of the easiest ways to get a pulse on your team is to talk to them one-on-one. I like to take time at regular intervals to go on a walk with my team members to see how things are going for them and to find out if there are any issues we can work on. Employee happiness is essential for a successful business, and regular conversations like these help you to nip any potential issues in the bud.…

(read more…)

By Brianna Crowley on August 26th, 2015 | Comment on this post

Welcome to SmartBrief Education’s original content series about the unique stories of teacherpreneurs. These are the innovative individuals confronting challenges, creating solutions and challenging the traditional definition of “educator.”

Those advocating for teacher leadership roles often face daunting obstacles: lack of funding or trust, resistance to power-sharing or change and the inability of others to see beyond what currently exists. With tight budgets and a traditional hierarchy of leadership, how can teachers build authentic leadership positions within their schools and districts? How can they gain agency within the system, without relinquishing their important work with students in the classroom? These continue to be my burning questions.

As a Center for Teaching Quality teacherpreneur during the 2014-15 school year, I was given a half day of release time to work on my passions beyond the classroom. Charged with a national scope of action, I supported teacher leaders across the country to participate in large movements and ignite small revolutions — it was difficult and inspiring work.…

(read more…)