Entrepreneurial

6 essential tips for a young entrepreneur

USA/-Cara Mico is the executive director at Demeter Design and a contributor to Under30CEO. The opinions expressed are her own. -

If I could write a letter to my nine-year-old self, what would it say? Maybe I would have skipped the year in private art school ($30,000 before interest) and opted for a year apprenticeship in Venice (which in theory would have made me money).

More importantly, where would I be? I am 27 and the executive director of a successful non-profit environmental consulting firm. After 5 years of blood, sweat, tears we have a functional board, and have worked with other non-profits throughout Oregon conducting watershed assessments and endangered species habitat restoration planning.

I was fortunate to have an amazing partner but the drive I needed to keep doing it, day in day out was more than I was prepared for, financially and mentally. I wouldn’t change anything, even though I went into debt to start the business, because I am happy with what I am doing and so too are my partners and clients.

But for the sake of argument and for the sake of helping others faced with the same options I was, I would give my nine-year-old self the following advice:

3 worst ways to find a potential investor

stop-sign-e1286542310834- Adam Hoeksema is the founder and CEO of ExecutivePlan and a contributor to Under30CEO. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Only one to four percent of angel investor applicants successfully raise angel investment, according to the Angel Capital Education Foundation. I suspect that part of the reason that the success rate is so low is because entrepreneurs are using the following ill-advised tactics to meet potential investors.

The Office Visit

So maybe you are located out in San Francisco, California and you hop on to California Venture Capital to locate a VC firm in your neighborhood.  It turns out that there are dozens of VC firms nearby so you throw on your best suit, stuff a pile of business cards in your pocket and follow your GPS to the front door of Sequoia Capital.  Obviously you will be stopped at the front desk unless you have an appointment.  Maybe you are good enough to sweet talk your way past the receptionist and you simply push your way in to introduce yourself to Mr. VC.  Venture capitalists might like ambitious entrepreneurs, but don’t fool yourself, this tactic is not ambitious, it is disrespectful and will certainly end in failure.

DIY PR: 5 rules for getting the publicity you want

USA-ECONOMY/- Danita King is Principal and Founder of PR Noir and a contributor to Under30 CEO. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Now, it seems a bit antithetical for an owner of a PR firm to teach others the tricks of the PR trade. I thought, “Do I really want to give away the secrets to PR success?” But then I thought long and hard about what it means to be an entrepreneur and the sometimes financial roller coaster the thrill of sole proprietorship can bring. What if I had a different type of business? Would I be able to afford an expensive PR agency? Probably not. If I were making cut backs, would my PR expenses be one of the first things to go? Probably so. If I had to tackle PR on my own, would I appreciate and try to soak up any tips I could acquire? Heck yeah!

So, the entrepreneur (and not the publicist) in me is giving the green light on some DIY PR tips that will help your company get the publicity and exposure you want, so you can focus on what you do best — running your business efficiently and successfully.

Anything business can do, the Internet can do better

– Chris Dixon is co-founder of Hunch and creator of Founder Collective, and an investor in many early-stage companies like Skype and Foursquare. Previously he co-founded Siteadvisor, which was acquired by McAfee. This blog originally appeared on cdixon.org. The views expressed are his own. –

People love to focus on horse races: NYC vs Silcon Valley, Facebook vs Twitter, IPO markets vs private exchanges, the valuation of some startup vs some other startup.

Like a lot of people in the tech industry, I’ve gotten inquiries recently on the meaning of Facebook’s “private” IPO with Goldman Sachs, whether VC valuations are indicative of a bubble, whether such-and-such startup is overvalued, and so on. These questions are all footnotes that will be forgotten in a few years.

The most influential CEOs under 30

-Jared O’Toole is co-founder of Under30CEO. The views expressed are his own. -

Small business Web site Under30CEO recently polled its readers to find out who they deemed to be the 30 most influential CEOs under the age of 30. Influence was judged on how much the person’s ventures were impacting the world and the way we live everyday. Here’s a look at the top 10.

FACEBOOK/1. Mark Zuckerberg
Company: Facebook
Age: 26
Net Worth: $6.9 Billion

Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 at Harvard and since then the social network has grown to over 500 million users. He is the world’s youngest billionaire with Facebook receiving a valuation of over $30 billion in 2010. Zuckerberg has literally changed the way people interact and has broken down social walls faster than ever imagined. Time Magazine named Zuckerberg Person of the Year for 2010 and his company Facebook shows no signs of slowing down.

2. Andrew Mason

Company: Groupon
Age: 30
Net Worth: Groupon Valuation $4.75 Billion

Your app likely won’t make you rich

– Paras Chopra is an entrepreneur and the director of online analytics startup Visual Website Optimizer. The views expressed are his own. –

Sorry for crushing your dreams but your Web app for tracking happiness levels (or for “social-aware” to-do lists) is probably not going to make enough money to let you retire in Hawaii.

Many programmers and developers find making a Web app very satisfying and there is nothing wrong with that – as long as you are doing it for fun, it’s OK.

Top 10 tech investing trends for 2011

– Dave McClure is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and the founder of Internet seed fund 500Startups. He has worked with companies such as PayPal, Mint, Founders Fund, Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Twilio, Simply Hired, O’Reilly Media, Intel and Microsoft. The views expressed are his own. –

Over the holidays Silicon Valley is a ghost town while most geeks and venture capitalists are busy hitting the slopes at Tahoe or playing Angry Birds Holiday Edition.

If you haven’t had enough football or eggnog yet, stop reading this blather and go watch some grown men beat the snot out of each other while drinking yourself into yuletide stupor. If that doesn’t sound more appealing then you’ll just have to settle for my crazy tech predictions for this year.

Hot healthcare investing trends for 2011

– Dr. David J. Brailer is the chairman for San Francisco-based venture firm Health Evolution Partners and served as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology under President George W. Bush. The views expressed are his own. –

2011 will be a chaotic and unpredictable year for investors.

We will see the first big changes of health reform play through – regardless of what the incoming Congress does. No one can predict what health reform means, particularly alongside the dwindling of the financial crisis and the ongoing jobs bust. The only sure thing is that 2011 won’t be a replay of the last two years where safe deals got done and a lot of companies traded from investor to investor.

Here are a few trends – and a few pitfalls – to pay attention to:

1. Please, no more meaningful use. Health information technology has been hyped into the stratosphere, and every entrepreneur is trying to raise capital while they can. Many are spinning their wheels because they mistake the investment bubble for their own shrewdness. The market will figure out in 2011 that federal subsidies will happen far slower than planned or that they may be cut back by a deficit-hawk Congress. Once the bubble pops and people get their feet back on Earth, deals will start to happen again. There are some very good health information technology companies coming to market in 2011 and they are going to rock healthcare in the coming years.

Grow revenues before seeking VC funding

– Russell Rothstein is the founder and CEO of business social networking site SalesSpider. The views expressed are his own. –

Small businesses owners want to grow their companies, but their ability to expand operations is limited by their own profitability or otherwise lack of capital.

Faced with this dilemma, many turn to venture capital firms (VCs), which embrace high-risk, high-growth startups and offer the money and management they desperately need to meet the growing demand for their product.

Focus on what you’re good at

– Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur that blogs about business at Quick Sprout and is the co-founder of KISSmetrics. The views expressed are his own. –

Is it me or is everyone these days trying to get rich quick? Not only am I meeting more and more people who don’t want to work hard to make money, but they are starting to get into new business ventures that they are clueless about.

I know the grass always looks greener on the other side, but it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, those lucrative businesses are making people millions of dollars, but it’s probably doing that for less than 0.3 percent of the people in that industry.

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