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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Experts Weigh In: I’m a Teen Entrepreneur

Experts Weigh In I'm a Teen EntrepreneurWho’s the boss? You’re the boss! One of the best things about entrepreneurship is that you can start your own business at any age – after all, age is nothing but a number when it comes to pursuing your passions and dreams. Today, we have a panel of 10 teen entrepreneurs (and even a few kidpreneurs on deck!) to tell us about their experience getting their start-up running and what they love best about being an entrepreneur.

1) “The best part of being a teen entrepreneur is the ability to inspire other youth to follow their dreams. Due to my success in business, I’m invited to speak at many major conferences for both youths and adults. I recently spoke at the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, where I spoke to 100 students teaching them to follow their dreams. I will also be speaking to Facebook Interns and Facebook University participants at the Facebook HQ in Menlo Park. My success is not simply for me, it’s a platform to inspire others to become success. It’s a platform to show that following your dreams has no age.”

- Jaylen Bledsoe, Chief Executive Officer & President, Bledsoe Technologies, LLC.

2) “I’m currently an 18-year old student at Cornell University. Last year, I founded Hype Up Your Day, Inc. My company sends motivational speakers and trainers in to businesses in order to improve employee morale and productivity. The best thing I like about being a teenage entrepreneur is the fact that every day is a learning curve. As teenagers, we barely have any experience in entrepreneurship. So, we get to learn something completely new every single day as we are going through the process for the first time!”

- Nihar Suthar, Founder, Hype Up Your Day

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What Happens After You Incorporate or Form an LLC?

For years, MyCorporation has been honored to help thousands of new entrepreneurs to get their new small business started on the right foot by incorporating or forming an LLC. But business maintenance doesn’t end when the articles of incorporation are filed! There are actually a few more steps to ensuring your new entity is compliant and ready for business. In order to help educate new business owners, and answer one of our most commonly asked questions, we are happy to reveal our new video, “What happens after you incorporate or form an LLC?”

Step 1. Apply for an Employer Identification Number. An EIN is going to be needed if you want to open a business bank account, or if you want to hire employees.

Step 2. File for trademark protection, and begin protecting your brand. You should also buy a domain name and secure social media properties as soon as possible.

Step 3. Look into what business licenses you have to apply for. Licensing varies depending on locality, entity, and industry, so it is a good idea to consult with a professional who can help you figure out exactly what you need.

Step 4. Remember to stay on top of annual maintenance. Most states will require business entities to file an annual report, which will have some basic information on your business like its name, address, registered agent, and industry. You also have to document any changes to the corporation or LLC. If you bring on new owners, or new investors, make sure to make note of it. You should also update your operating agreement or bylaws as new owners and investors will probably want a say in how the company is run.

Step 5. Thinking about expanding outside of your home state? Well, remember that you have to apply for permission to do business in any new state. If you don’t, you could be looking at hefty fines and dissolution of your business in that state. So don’t forget to file to qualify as a foreign entity in any state you plan to expand into.

Have any questions about corporate or LLC maintenance? Need help figuring out what you need to file? Just give MyCorporation a call at 1-877-692-6772 and we will be happy to help you out!

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Top 10 April Fools’ Office Pranks

Top 10 April Fools' Office PranksHappy April Fools’ Day! Today, offices and coworkers everywhere will be pranking each other by blowing air horns into cubicles, filling the supply cabinet with balloons and hiding the actual supplies, and taking off all the keys on keyboards and rearranging them. Here at MyCorp, we love a good joke and turned to our panel of small business pros to see what their all-time favorite prank pulled was – here are our top 10 favorites!

1. “We did ours a bit early to the staff and will do it to the general public on April Fools’ Day. I work at The Zebra – we created a press release that said left handed drivers are safer. The tech team really got the sales team when they added (internally only) a page that showed when people claim to be left handed their insurance dropped by more than 20% in some cases. We had a meeting, showed the new page and the press release. We even did some training… Hook, line and sinker.”

- Jason Jepson, The Zebra

2. “Since ‘taxidermy’ is similar to ‘tax accounting’ I decided to turn our reception area into a taxidermy shop. We located some stuffed animals that were slightly realistic. My favorite was a blow-up rubber moose head we hung on the wall. Outside we changed our sign from Tax-masters, Inc. to Taxidermy. Oh my goodness. When folks showed up for their appointments, it was hilarious! Some were old established clients who had been coming to our location for 20 years. Needless to say, they were confused. Others were brand new clients coming for their very first appointment so they were sure they had the wrong address.”

- Linda de Marlor, President, Tax-Masters, Inc.

3. “I was working in upstate New York. Our functional manager was well loved by everyone. He genuinely cared about all of us that worked for him. I well remember when a few of his employees turned his entire office into a camp. They took everything out of his office, put up a large tent and put his furniture back inside the tent. Our boss worked from within his tent all day, fully equipped with desk, chairs, lights, and even a toilet set up in the corner. His visitors that day were ‘impressed,’ not so much with their surroundings, but certainly by his staff’s creativity. I never did find out who did that, but it was really funny. The following day, his office was back to normal. I’m sure a couple of the guys were pretty tired after two non-sleeping nights.”

- Diane Piper, President, BORSAbag LLC

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Experts Weigh In: If I Had to Start My Business All Over Again

Experts Weigh In If I Had to Start My Business All Over AgainIf you could go back and change anything about the way your business got its start, would you do it? It’s totally okay to admit you would – whether it was a logo design, hiring sooner rather than later (and vice versa), or focus on marketing strategy tactics, even the most successful brand has a few moments that might have been done differently if they knew then what they know now. Today, we have a panel of 48 small business experts on board to tell us what they wish they could go back and change about their business in the beginning.

1. “I think I’d have learned to be a manager before I made myself one. I only now am starting to realize how much better I could have been as a manager instead of thrusting myself into the position as a know-it-all. I’ve been running my firm for 23 years and I really only have one regret that is not getting trained in the sensitive art of managing human capital.”

- Richard Laermer, CEO, RLM PR

2. “The transition from a full-time employee to a full-time entrepreneur has been a combination of many accomplishments, but also challenges. The flexibility of working from my home has been phenomenal, but after working almost 20 years for someone else, I realize that an office environment works well for me, even if using co-working space. While I can work virtually anywhere, I am more productive outside of my home and it allows me to maintain a divider between home and work life. If I had to do it all over again, I would have invested in some sort of shared or office space after developing proof of concept in order to maintain the boundary and be able to turn completely off at times.”

- Kimberly O’Neil, Founder/CEO, The Giving Blueprint

3. “If I were to start MyFairyTaleBooks all over again I would have chosen a different brand name. When we started in 2009 we were exclusively selling books. Now we offer many personalized gift items including puzzles, placemats and bookmarks with plans to expand into even further categories. We have such strong brand recognition with our customers that we are hesitant to make too many bold changes to our identity, but we’ve taken subtle steps to share the news that we’re no longer just books!”

- Kelly Mistry, Owner, MyFairyTaleBooks

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When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour Note

When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour NoteBlack Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am wasn’t singing “Happy” when he sought legal action against Oscar-nominated music producer Pharrell Williams. Will.i.am accused his fellow musician of not respecting the intellectual property rights of others while alluding to an ongoing dispute Pharrell and Robin Thicke are having with Marvin Gaye over the hit song “Blurred Lines.”

Will.i.am’s gripe stemmed from a trademark application Pharrell filed to secure his interest in his brand I AM OTHER. In their own words: “The I Am Other mark means ‘I am something else,’ leaving what that ‘else’ is to the imagination of the consumer… It certainly does not mean ‘I am Will’ or in any way suggest defendants’ or the will.i.am mark.” All that can be translated to mean: consumers looking at goods bearing Pharrell’s I AM OTHER would likely confuse them as originating from will.i.am.

In his his defense, Williams asserted will.i.am would have a hard time proving he controlled the “I Am” trademark pointing out the existence of the famed Dr. Seuss character Sam I Am as well as the 146 other artists who use the “I Am” construction in their monikers. The parties ultimately settled outside of court though Pharrell commented he found the whole thing “ridiculous” telling Rolling Stone Magazine, “I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me,” he said. “I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions.”

Share your opinion on this trademark law issue with us! And, as always, if you have any patent, trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling: (310) 276-6664. 

The Omni Legal Group was founded in Los Angeles, California by Omid Khalifeh. Mr. Khalifeh is a published attorney who has experience dealing with a wide variety of intellectual property issues. He has worked on matters for Fortune 500 companies and represents clients in disputes involving copyrightstrademarkspatents, trade secrets, and cyberlaw disputes. Mr. Khalifeh received his Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Juris Doctorate from the Chapman University School of Law where he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to attend. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, the Law and the Human Genome (Loyola Law Review) and has been invited to speak at conferences across the country about changes in intellectual property law.

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Experts Weigh In: My Luckiest Moment as an Entrepreneur

My Luckiest Moment as an EntrepreneurFor entrepreneurs, luck is a lot like snowflakes – no two instances of it are alike. Today, we’ve got a panel of small business owners on our blog who have experienced some seriously serendipitous moments with their companies. From signing a deal while at the zoo to feeding Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling and plenty of appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank in between, these 45 entrepreneurs prove that everything in life is luck!

1. “Speaking internationally selling marketing training at live seminars, my luckiest moment was with a small group of 23. At the end of the 3 hour training, 21 attendees purchased additional training for $497.00 making it the highest converting training I have given.”

- Nathan Amaral, Owner/CEO, Nathan Amaral International

2. “My luckiest moment came when I least expected it. I was struggling with my bills, because I quit my job several months before to start my own web design company and it didn’t go so well. It was really hard to keep myself motivated, but then the first client appeared from nowhere basically. Till this day, I have no idea how he then managed to find my half-baked website and make a purchase. From that moment on, everything just got better and better!”

- John Perry, Owner, Muse Templates Pro Company

3. “A couple of years after I started my company I had pitched a CEO about a month before I ran into her at a networking event where she was the keynote speaker and her topic was about being a woman leader in a traditionally male-dominated business. I had followed up after sending my proposal several times via e-mail and voicemail but the CEO never returned any of my messages or even acknowledged the receipt of the proposal requested. You can imagine my shock when she announced at this event as part of her speech that she believes it is important to put your money where your mouth is and for women CEO’s to support other respected, well-run women’s businesses and that is why she has hired my firm to handle all her company’s marketing and PR! Everyone congratulated me after – it was a better endorsement than an ad in the New York Times because she was very well known and had the reputation of being very tough with high standards so I got a LOT of business from people in the room that night because they thought if I was able to impress her, I must be very good! For a young company, it was a big moment.”

- Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

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