Entrepreneurial

Top 7 moonlighting businesses

– Melinda F. Emerson, known as the SmallBizLady, is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, small business coach and the author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months“. This article originally appeared on SecondAct.com. The views expressed are her own. –

In today’s economy, even if you have a job, your money doesn’t go as far as it used to. You’re probably thinking a lot about how you can make some money on the side.

I am a firm believer that the only way to build wealth in America is to build a business, but getting started can be challenging for people who need a weekly paycheck. That’s why it’s best to stick your toes in the entrepreneurial waters with a moonlighting business. It usually takes 18 to 36 months for a new business venture to break even.

There are plenty of businesses you can develop after 5 p.m. each evening and on weekends while still working your day job. Some of these options may require you to work by appointment or find a partner, but all of these businesses are ideal side gigs.

Here are my top seven moonlighting businesses to start right now.

1. Grant and Proposal Writing

If you can help people find money, you will always have clients. As a grant writer, you can charge hourly or, once you are established, a flat fee of $1,000 to $1,500 and perhaps a percentage of any successful proposals. You can offer grant management and sustainability plans, as well. Some grant writers are generalists, and some focus on a niche, such as developing educational, social service or health research grants. “Grant writing is quite lucrative, but there’s a lot of pressure from clients,” says Anisha Robinson-Keeys, president of Lance-Lee Planning in Norristown, Pa.”The key is being an expert in your target area. Fundraising is a relationship business.” One of the best ways to get experience is to volunteer to write grants for a development department at a nonprofit. Be upfront about why you are volunteering so that you maintain the relationship. Richard Walsh, author of “The Start Your Own Business Bible: 501 New Ventures You Can Launch Today”, says grant writing businesses can make $75,000 to $100,000 a year.

Angels vs VCs on business pitches

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories“. The views expressed are his own. –

Recently I caught Business Insider’s “Five VCs Explain What They REALLY Think About Your Pitches“. It’s a great post, gathering points together from discussions with several high-end venture capitalists. If you’re looking at venture capital, read it.

Part of what they said reminded me that angel investors and VCs have a lot in common. For example, these important points:

Are peer-to-peer loans a good small business Idea?

– Cynthia Hsu is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Have you tried to get funding for your small business, only to get met with denials from banks and other big lenders? Peer-to-peer loans, or person-to-person loans, are a new and rapidly growing area where businesses can get some starter funding.

If you’ve heard of microfinance, the idea behind peer-to-peer loans is fairly similar. A large network of “lenders” come together to help borrowers raise money for various purposes.

Founder-market fit a key for startups

– Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

An extremely useful concept that has grown popular among startup founders is what eminent entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen calls “product/market fit,” which he defines as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Andreessen argues persuasively that product/market fit is “the only thing that matters for a new startup” and that “the life of any startup can be divided into two parts: before product/market fit and after product/market fit.”

But it takes time to reach product/market fit. Founders have to choose a market long before they have any idea whether they will reach product/market fit. In my opinion, the best predictor of whether a startup will achieve product/market fit is whether there is what David Lee calls “founder/market fit”. Founder/market fit means the founders have a deep understanding of the market they are entering, and are people who “personify their product, business and ultimately their company.”

Note to entrepreneurs: Your idea is not special

– Brad Feld is a managing director at the Boulder, Colorado-based venture capital firm Foundry Group. He also co-founded TechStars and writes the popular blog, Feld Thoughts. The views expressed are his own. –

Every day I get numerous emails from software and Internet entrepreneurs describing their newest ideas.

Often these entrepreneurs think their idea is brand new – that no one has ever thought of it before. Other times they ask me to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect their idea. Occasionally the emails mysteriously allude to the idea without really saying what it is.

Notes on raising seed financing

– Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

I recently taught a class via Skillshare (disclosure: Founder Collective is an investor) about how to raise a seed round. After a long day I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and I stayed well past the scheduled end time. I think it worked well because the audience was full of people actually starting companies, and they came well prepared (they were all avid readers of tech blogs and had seemed to have done a lot of research).

I sketched some notes for the class which I’m posting below. I’ve written ad nauseum on this blog (see contents page) about venture financing so hadn’t planned to blog more on the topic. But since I wrote up these notes already, here they are.

Silicon Valley recruiter on tech hiring frenzy: “Everyone’s desperate”

Robert Greene, the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based GreeneSearch Inc, specializes in recruiting hands-on talent for technology-focused companies, primarily startups. He provided his perspective on the current boom in technology hiring.

Q: How would you characterize the tech hiring market now?
A: It’s very competitive right now. It’s been like that for a while; it’s probably heated up even more of late. You have the bigger companies – Groupon, Zynga, Google, LinkedIn, companies that have been proven and successful – and then you have all these startups.
The supply doesn’t meet the demand.

Q: Is there an advantage to being a small company?
A: The advantage they have over those (big) companies is that they can move really quickly. They’ll do everything in a day and make an offer and hope that person will accept right away before they get into the bigger companies. Those are their selling points. They have to move quickly, they have to be agile, have to have the compelling story, have to give equity, along with competitive salaries.

5 reasons to join a startup after graduating

– Eric Stromberg joined Hunch in 2010 and works primarily on business development. Prior to Hunch, Eric worked as a summer analyst in Goldman Sachs’ Sales and Trading Division. Eric received a BA, magna cum laude, in history from Duke University. This article originally appeared on his blog. The views expressed are his own. –

After I wrote my last post, a surprising number of people emailed me asking why I decided to join a startup after graduating from Duke. Many of those I heard from face similar decisions today: either they are college seniors choosing between a big company and a startup, or they are recent graduates who work at a big company and are thinking about making the switch.

What’s interesting is that most are already leaning towards the startup career path: it seems they just want someone to assure them it’s a rational move. Their friends and family are skeptical: “How can you turn down a job at Morgan Stanley for a 10-person startup?” Hopefully this post will give those who want to join startups some good points to bring back to the skeptics as to why it’s a good idea to join a startup early in your career.

NEA seeks seed stage deals

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Charge at the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. –

New Enterprise Associates is planning to step up its pace of early stage investments, thanks in part, no doubt, to how the plummeting costs of launching a business make smaller investments potentially more lucrative.

NEA, which last month made early stage investments in Inporia, a stealth ecommerce startup, and Grubwithus, a social dining service, has reportedly formed NEA Seed Fund to target seed stage deals.

As startups ponder the secondary market, more seem to make private info public

– Mark Boslet is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

The secondary markets for private company stock may seem like the Wild West, with unstructured valuations and less than ideal information disclosure.

Yet several securities laws apply to transactions now taking place, and the onus falls on companies to follow rules meant to level the playing field, including making some confidential information about their businesses public.

  •