Experts Weigh In: How Being an Entrepreneur Makes Me Feel Independent

How Being an Entrepreneur Makes Me Feel IndependentIn celebration of Independence Day this July 4th (and the three day weekend countless offices will be looking forward to), our MyCorp team decided to ask a simple, but significant, question to our small business base: how does being an entrepreneur make you feel independent? Meet our 105 entrepreneurial experts with the answers, or as resident expert Dan Fendel so eloquently described it as, “I hold these truths to be self-evident that all business people are NOT created equal, and some of us are endowed by our dreams and ideas with the ability to open new doors and create new ventures.”

1) “Being an entrepreneur gives you great independence and flexibility, but it comes with a cost of high risk and increased responsibility. Being in the CEO chair of a company puts all of the burden on me to deliver or else I’m out of business. For me though, after years in private equity and investment banking, it’s exactly what I wanted: all the responsibility on me. After understanding that, then it’s up for me to decide if I can go on an afternoon run or take a day off knowing that I don’t have a boss to blame if things go wrong.”

- Chris Good, Founder and CEO, Eventblimp

2) “Independence as an entrepreneur is as much a gift as it is a burden. You generally get to make your own hours, but at the same time you must be self-motivated, there is no one to push you but yourself. Essentially, just like in life, you get what you give.”

- David Drexler, My Coin Solution

3) “I love being an entrepreneur, the freedom of working at anytime from anywhere has opened an array of opportunity to spend more time with my kids and have a better quality of life while producing even a higher income that ever before.”

- Priska Diaz, Founder & CEO, Bittylab

4) “Being an entrepreneur makes me feel independent because I can work as many hours, or days as I want as I am my own boss responsible for my company’s success. Also I can work in my pajamas!”

- Haralee Weintraub, CEO, Haralee.com – Cool Garments for Hot Women!

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How to Handle Upcoming QETs

How to Handle Upcoming QETsIt’s that time once again: time to whip out the finance books and try to figure out just how much you owe for quarterly estimated taxes, or QETs. More sitting down at the dining room table, going over numbers, scratching your head trying to figure out what this abbreviation stands for…

Wait, you don’t know what this is about? Quarterly estimated taxes are a big part of the small business owner’s life as they’re constantly buzzing around just around the corner, ready to pounce and make a mess. However, many small business owners still manage to forget about them, leading to headaches and possible fines.

Instead of putting them off, read our quick guide so you can get ahead of the game!

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How Fundable is Your Business?

How Fundable is Your Business?Fund • a • bil • i • ty – [adj. Fuhnd-uh-bil-i-tee]

You won’t find “Fundability” on Dictionary.com, so don’t bother looking. Fundability is a phrase we’ve coined to describe how a business measures up in relation to the entire business lending and investing community.

All joking aside, how “Fundable” is your business?

Fundability is not just about your credit. It includes several components that determine how your overall business is seen by lenders, investors, insurers, suppliers, and more. Basically, we know that your business was worth the risk for you, but is it worth the risk for them?

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Experts Weigh In: I’m an Entrepreneur in my 60s+

Experts Weigh In: I'm an Entrepreneur in my 60s+It’s the last week of our entrepreneurs by the ages series here on the MyCorp blog! From teen entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, our final post celebrates entrepreneurs in their 60s and beyond as they share with us their stories about starting up a small business, the obstacles they’ve encountered, and the rewards that being an entrepreneur has given them.

1) “I began my professional career as manager of a Coronary Care unit and a Non- Invasive Cardiology Unit Supervisor in local area hospitals. In my free time I developed an interest in the science and art of chocolate. Gaining chocolate making skills through a blend of personal exploration and formal education I attended a Master Chocolatier certificate program that enabling me to learn techniques with Master Chocolatiers of the Tuscany region of Italy. My journey to becoming a Chocolatier led to my founding Donna & Company in 2005 and establishing my own chocolate brands, CocoaBee® Honey Caramels and Donna Toscana® Tuscan Style® Chocolates and Fundamental. My chocolates have appeared on the NBC TODAY Show, in the New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, Dessert Professional, Park Place Magazine and numerous other media outlets.  I was named Best Chocolatier by NJ Monthly magazine and Local Hero, Food Artisan of 2010 by Edible NJ magazine.”

- Diane Pinder, 61, Chocolatier/Founder, Donna & Company

2) “I’m an entrepreneur who is 74. I started my business at 55. After a long career in management in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, I was working as a consultant in a small firm. After several years I realized I had learned the “business” and was actually good at product development, marketing, and sales. My younger sister who had started her own business a few years before was my inspiration. So, as we say, ‘I stepped off the cliff and grew wings on the way.’ Over the past 19 years, I’ve reinvented my business several times as the needs of my markets have changed. I’ve added professional speaking, writing books, webinars, and digital products to my mix of face-to-face consulting. The best parts of being an entrepreneur at my age are: being able to use my creativity to craft new products and services for my customers and wider market, thus staying mentally active; creating my own work schedule to accommodate lots of physical activity including yoga, Tai Chi, and walking to stay physically and mentally fit; and living a life that is fulfilling on every level. I have cut back on my road warrior travel and allowed technology to help me communicate around the world more. I will never be isolated because I have made friends around the world and I keep up business and personal relationships with them. I have no plans to retire. I’ll just keep innovating, reinventing, and tapping into my imagination until it’s time to go.”

- Rebecca Staton-Reinstein, Ph.D., 74,  President, Advantage Leadership, Inc.

3) “Most of my career, I worked in administration. I am almost 70, and have now become a designer. I designed a protective bag, BORSAbag. I am in an unknown environment. The way I describe it is I feel as though I’m in a vast field of tall grass with a machete. I just keep whacking away to find my path.

At this stage of my life, I have accumulated some savings and am in a better position to finance my design. I feel secure in taking that risk, mainly because I am married, and know that if I lose my investment, I will still be okay. I have more peace of mind to take the necessary risks. I constantly think about my product, how to improve it, additional uses for various sizes, and how to introduce BORSAbag to everyone. The downside of being my age is I can’t afford to take too much time to make decisions. I  must think about it, address it, and decide, and then move on to the next step. I have made sure that my infrastructure is strong, I have my inventory, and now I must make an announcement from the highest mountain to get my word out there. Time is of the essence.

BORSAbag is a simple, yet very unique product. It can be used to protect anything. The key is: Always Inside Out. The small pouch stays clean and dry, and can be stored safely in pocket or purse even though the large protective bag is wet or dirty. The Bag For All Seasons; The Bag For All Reasons®”

- Diane Piper, 69+, President/Designer, BORSAbag LLC

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Discover the Secrets to Successfully Leading a Small Business

Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-SuiteHow does a successful top-level manager or CEO motivate employees and encourage productivity, while navigating the often-treacherous organizational waters? How do they surpass lofty expectations and deliver impressive results with pitfalls lurking around every corner?

Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite by Mallary Tytel reveals the secrets behind winning executives’ strategies for taking charge effectively of small organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. In clear, easy-to-understand prose that’s loaded with real-life examples, Vision Driven shows experienced and newly minted managers alike the dos, don’ts and don’t-even-think-about-its to take their organization to the next level.

The following are excerpts from Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite by Mallary Tytel, ©2009, 2013.

From the Introduction:

Being a CEO—or even upper-level officer or manager – is often a larger-than-life position and filled with questions that aren’t answered in an MBA education. Every challenge has multiple solutions, each of which can be right and wrong in a given situation. Therefore it is the questions and context we must pay attention to, and more often than not, that is where the learning and results come from.

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Experts Weigh In: I’m an Entrepreneur in My 50s

Experts Weigh In: I'm an Entrepreneur in My 50sAfter spending three weeks with teen entrepreneurs, twentysomething ‘treps, and entrepreneurs in their 30s and 40s, we’re taking a look at savvy entrepreneurs in their 50s! Our 30 professionals profiled today have plenty of pearls of wisdom that come with being in business including opting for triads over partnerships and that there is no glass ceiling when you work for yourself.

1) “So I’ve done a LOT! I’ve worked for companies, I’ve owned companies. The best part about being an entrepreneur at age 53 is that I’m in control of my destiny. Many of my friends are worried about their retirement accounts, for me, being an entrepreneur is like early retirement with a cash faucet! I can work as much or as little as I want or need. I don’t plan to retire, I do what I love and plan to keep on doing it.”

- Karen Yankovch, 53, Owner, Social Media Brand Strategist

2) “The best part of being an entrepreneur in my 50s is that I’ve already made a WHOLE LOT OF mistakes. I also have learned that nothing is quite as good or quite as bad as it seems, so I’m less panicked and more stable in my thinking. I’m also much more focused on working smart not hard, but often still do some of both!

Many people require structure and need to be told what to do and have goals set for them. The biggest challenge with being an entrepreneur is time management and making sure I get the stuff done that I don’t like doing, before I get into the fun stuff. It’s a scheduling thing, but here again, I’ve been doing it for quite a while, so I know when I need to just hunker down and clear off the desk.

One last word of advice for entrepreneurs – think triads, not just partnerships. While partnering with like minded and complementary businesses is great, developing triads is even better. If I can get two people together that can help each other, it’s easy for me to tag along, because if it’s helpful, they both have a reason to include me where appropriate. Win-Win-Win is better than Win-Win.”

- John Schaefer, 59, Founder and President, Schaefer Recognition Group

3) “After receiving my MBA in Finance I worked on Wall Street for about 20 years as a fixed income trader and proprietary equity trader before leaving to open up a company that originated commercial mortgage loans and then sold them to banks who turned them into bonds. When Lehman Brothers failed and the market seized I had the opportunity to open a title insurance firm which I jumped on. Six years later and we are doing great.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur at 50+ is the autonomy it provides to do and run things the way that you think best. The issue with being an entrepreneur at 50+ is the fact that if for some unforeseen reason the business does not work out, prospects for getting hired in the conventional job market are dicey. For that reason I just have to make sure that we succeed!”

- Mike Haltman, 54, Owner, Hallmark Abstract Service

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Experts Weigh In: I’m an Entrepreneur in My 40s

I’m an Entrepreneur in My 40sFrom teen entrepreneurs to twentysomethings and entrepreneurs in their 30s, our MyCorp blog has arrived at the fabulous 40 something entrepreneur! Meet our panel of 40 experts from all walks of life in small business as they tell us what diamonds in your pocket syndrome is and how entrepreneurship means moving forward, not sideways.

1) “I have quit the hectic and stressful life of investment banking in London three years ago in order to move down south and start again in a healthier life more in line with my ethics and personal needs. I am currently starting a business in desktop publishing which I have done on contracts in London since 1998, and which I have always enjoyed. Only now, I want to do it in my own terms and I am enjoying the feeling of independence and satisfaction that comes with doing what I love. It is very exciting but also scary. For the purpose of earning money while I get the business up and running, I am working part-time at B&Q as a customer advisor.”

- Isabelle Sene, 45, Desktop Publisher/Designer, Artabelle Designs

2) “As an author, speaker, professional coach, and consultant, I feel like I am at the peak of my performance not only as an individual but also an entrepreneur. I have crossed all genres on the corporate circuit and even reached senior VP status. However, it was not until my 40′s that I truly found my passion and purpose in life at The Believe Coach. Now, at 46 years old, I believe my life experiences and the opportunity I have been given to impact the lives of literally millions is so incredible. I am not living The Believe Lifestyle and it feels great.”

- Nicholas Dillon, MS, MAED, 46, Motivational Speaker | Author | Educator, THE BELIEVE Coach

3) “While there are lots of great things about being an entrepreneur (freedom, flexibility, calling the shots), for me the best part is the additional control I have over my retirement plan (and that’s getting even more important as I approach middle age). Working for someone else always meant that I was limited in how much I could save and what investment choices I had. But with my own business, the investment choices are much broader—from pension plans to 401(k) plans. My investment choices aren’t limited to ten mutual funds selected by the Vice President of Human Resources. And, I have control over not just how much of my own salary I save, but I can increase the company match well beyond 3-5% you see at the typical big company. It’s not the only benefit of running your own business, but it’s a big one.”

- Rob Marsh, 46, Owner, Logomaker.com

4) “I started Fisher Designs last year. Fisher Designs consults on Medical Device Engineering, Software Engineering, and Software Quality Assurance. I was starting to realize that I was working on engineering projects and others were profiting greatly from all my hard work. I incorporated myself and now seek to capture some of those profits for myself and my family. I really wish I had done this sooner. There is such a steep learning curve to owning a business. I joke with my wife about being able to design medical devices that save lives, but I struggle with accounting and tax laws.

Things do get easier as time goes on, but it is a never ending battle to learn. Age brings wisdom and experience which I hope will help me on this journey.

- Christopher Fisher, 41, CEO, Fisher Designs Inc.

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Experts Weigh In: I’m an Entrepreneur in My 30s

Experts Weigh In: I'm an Entrepreneur in My 30sThe last few weeks on the MyCorp blog have been filled with stories of teen entrepreneurs and twentysomething entrepreneurs getting their start in the world of business – now it’s time to put the spotlight on thirtysomething entrepreneurs! Read on as our 40 professionals tell us why they love the freedom, flexibility, and fun that comes with starting up a business.

1. “The best part about being an entrepreneur in your 30s is the level of experience and business maturity you gain at such a relatively young age. There are some lessons you can only learn through experience, and it’s invaluable for the career entrepreneur to gain these insights ahead of the curve.”

- Dylan Whitman, 32, Co-Founder, Brand Value Accelerator

2. “I am an online marketing consultant and have yet to hit big 40. With a formal MBA and six years of industry experience under my belt, I started working from home when my little one got diagnosed with moderate ASD. It took me a few years to get traction because for a while I was working part-time hours. Since last year, I have switched to working full time from home and have hit six figures this year. I love the flexibility, lack of commute and being able to work in my PJs. I work with VNB’s – very new businesses and most of them happen to be women. My advice to anyone looking to create a successful one-person shop would be to invest in yourself early on – get the training and help you need. It will help you skyrocket your confidence and gain much needed clarity. It’s not going to be easy but you will save yourself tons of tears and heartache. You can do this!”

- Marya Jan, 34, Online Marketing Consultant, Writing Happiness

3. “I am a new attorney and 35-year-old entrepreneur who started his own virtual law firm out of law school. I help other entrepreneurs, particularly in the video game and computer software industries, to start their businesses and realize their dreams. I leverage technology to enable myself to work from anywhere in the world (currently in Bangkok, Thailand) and keep overhead low. This lets me provide affordable legal services to my clients, who are mainly small business entrepreneurs in the game industry.”

- Zachary Strebeck, 35, Attorney at Law

4. “I started LSP, a video and television production company, when I was 25 years old. While I still had a ton to learn about my trade and overall entrepreneurship, it was an amazing time to branch out on my own. For starters, I was still living at home, single and no kids; I had zero distractions in the pursuit of my dreams. I don’t know if I could have grown my business as quickly as I did if I had those personal responsibilities (especially as a female!).”

- Lisa Marie Latino, 30, Founder and Executive Producer, Long Shot Productions

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Experts Weigh In: I’m a Twentysomething Entrepreneur

Experts Weigh In: I'm a Twentysomething EntrepreneurLast week, we took a look at 10 teen entrepreneurs who told us about their experience getting started with their own business. This week we’re talking to our panel of 40 twentysomething entrepreneurs on being fearless, driven, and energized when it comes to running their own businesses and building up their brands!

1. “The best thing about it is that all my friends constantly complain they’re shackled to their desks in jobs they absolutely hate. I get to meet a wide variety of interesting clients on a daily basis and implement my own ideas whenever I want. I work on my own terms, doing what I love. I love what I do every single day -­ you can’t put a price on satisfaction in your work life.”

- Nick Whitmore, 24, Managing Director, contentwriter.co.uk

2. “I think the best part about being an entrepreneur at my age is the opportunity to build my own legacy. I don’t have that complacency or false sense of security other people my age have when you’re getting a fixed salary at the end of the month. There’s a fire under me every morning! I work from home & I’m in control of my own time and I can fully enjoy work and spending time with my baby girl.”

- Ruth Noel-Samaroo, 25, Online Accounting Specialist, Noel Bookkeeping

3. “I’ve been living from my ventures for the past 4 years now, grown one of them to up to 30 employees and loved every moment of it. The thing I like the most about it is the complete freedom you have both in location and the way you schedule your day.”

- Gael Breton, 20s, Co-Founder, Copycog.com, Health Ambition, Authority Hacker

4. “#RAWR: The best part about being an entrepreneur while being in your 20′s is the understanding that you have more time than most current successful entrepreneurs. Time is life’s most important aspect and time can allow you from one day being good, to one day being great!”

- Johnathan Grzybowski, 20s, Marketing Director, Dino Enterprise

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