Mark Cuban’s Advice To Entrepreneurs – Risk, Energy, and Funding

According to online dictionaries, an entrepreneur is “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money” or “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Well, I get a check for both of those. My past venture into the fashion industry was fraught with risk and cost me plenty. Now, I have little to show for it, save for a closet full of the most amazing handbags EVER CREATED.

I’m normally a risk-averse person, but somehow, when I’m on a quest to find the formula for success in some endeavor, I throw tons at it – money, energy, time – hoping to find the magical components. The problem is, when you invest in something you really don’t understand, you come up empty more often than not. Knowledge is power, sometimes more so than money, and that’s what struck me with this video from Mark Cuban.

The big takeaways?

Seeking funding for a new business venture is failure. It’s an admission that you can’t hack it on your own, can’t find success with the resources you already have, and need to sell-out in order to plunge forth. The question is, how successful will you really be when you are on the hook for millions of dollars to others who believed enough in your idea that you probably could have rocketed on your own first, albeit a little slower??

I never thought of it that way…

My latest venture is challenging, to say the least. And while I’ve researched the concept itself, I’ve thought many times about how I’ll pitch the idea to investors, how I can get into an accelerator, how I can get the attention of venture capitalists…all so I can command funding and leverage expertise from those who have already found success.

But after watching this video, I realize my mindset needs some fine-tuning. Funding is not necessarily the answer. Preparation is the missing element in my formula. It’s where I fell short with my first business. Not taking enough time to learn about the industry before jumping in, spreading myself and my resources too thin to be even slightly effective, not doing enough research in the form of focus groups prior to designing my products. It was a totally ad hoc, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, throw-lots-of-crap-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks process, with no tried-and-tested repeatable elements. I had no blueprint, no measurable metrics, and no plans for future execution. So, what did I do? Hired a new, more expensive PR firm (which did squat, btw), designed even more products without customer input, spent more money than I could afford…only to land flat on my face with no answers and lots of anguish.

I never acquired the knowledge, though I did amass mountains (now they’re more like hills) of debt as a result. I could have mitigated the risk with a deep understanding of the business landscape, including potential pitfalls and competition elements. But not me! I’m an instant gratification whore, way too impulsive and impatient to waste time on LEARNING, of all things.

To my own peril. I’ve raised many a glass to that toast, regrettably…

So, Mark. Thanks for the advice. Knowledge is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. The more ammo you have, the more prepared you are for battle. And yes, it IS a battle. But winnable if your head is in the right place.

Startup Spotlight: My Super Nanny Is Now In The USA!

Finding a reliable caretaker for your child is no easy feat. Word of mouth may find you the perfect babysitter, but what happens when said babysitter decides to get a full-time teaching gig, leaving you high and dry? What if the next babysitter allowed your toddler to walk up and down a steep staircase unattended, when they’d only just begun to scale those stairs under Mom’s watchful eye? What if you just can’t find anyone you can really trust to watch your precious angels, and you really are in need of a night out with the girls???

Then, it’s My Super Nanny to the rescue.

The Australian-based company is centered around three core values they believe all nannies need to possess – reliability, care, and intuition. Not all nannies are the same, nor are all families. Needs differ greatly. My Super Nanny uses a special algorithm to pair the right partners, leaving parents with more time for enjoyable tasks. For a small monthly fee of $6.95, you have access to lists of carers. You don’t pay for your nanny unless you feel comfortable with your choice and want to establish contact, making it a lower-risk proposition.

My Super Nanny provides fast, efficient and safe methods for contacting carers. After that initial contact, they let the client and the nanny make the rest of the arrangements such as pay, hours, and tasks.

And, the great news is, My Super Nanny has just launched in New York and California! To celebrate the launch, they would like to offer a free 365-day membership, which allows full access to their services. The code to use is MSN-S157L and it is only available for a limited time.

It is as easy as putting sprinkles on your ice-cream:
2. Enter code MSN-S157L
3. Contact unlimited nannies or post as many jobs as you’d like
Follow My Super Nanny Online & Find Your Perfect Nanny Now!
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Startup Spotlight: Ditch The Dummy

I remember the days of pacifiers…and my little Lulu was an addict. She couldn’t take a step without one in her mouth and one in each chubby little hand. And nighttime was the worst because she’d constantly knock them out of her crib and scream bloody murder, giving my and my hubby near-heart attacks from being shocked out of as deep a sleep as we could hope for with a very vocal baby. There were no solutions beyond tossing them into the trash when we’d had just about enough, which is exactly what we did. And we paid. Handsomely.

But now there is a solution! And it’s created by a company called Ditch the Dummy! The dummy is the pacifier, not you, by the way…

Penny Angela is the CEO of Ditch the Dummy and she had a plethora of sound bytes to share about entrepreneurship, motherhood, motivation, and potential pitfalls of creating a brand-new business.

1. Penny, what made you decide to delve into the world of entrepreneurship?

The reason I decided to delve into entrepreneurship was purely accidental. My husband and I fostered a beautiful 20-month old little boy called Joey. He was addicted to his pacifier. The only time it came out of his mouth was to eat.

Joey was a very shy little boy and could only speak a couple of words. We waited a couple of months before trying to wean him from his pacifier, giving him a chance to settle in, feel comfortable and with the minimal amount of stress.

Pacifier weaning Joey was horrendous! We tried just about everything, from cold turkey to losing it, nothing worked. Then a friend suggested poking a hole in one of his existing pacifiers. We did it, and it did work.

After a few days Joey just put it aside and that was basically that. He had effectively weaned himself.

Then purely by chance, I came across an article on pacifier weaning and how it can be harmful to alter your child’s existing pacifier, apparently pieces of silicon can become embedded in your child’s gums or even create a choking hazard. Basically the integrity of the pacifier nipple can be compromised.

Pretty horrifying!

But knowing this method does work, I thought if I could create a product for pacifier weaning along those lines, but with a manufactured hole, it would still work the same, but be totally safe.

I went online to see if there were any pacifier weaning tools available, and only found 1 tangible product, (besides books) a set of 5 pacifiers reducing in size. I sure this works very well, but it’s quite pricey, ranging from $20 to $30 depending on which site you made your purchase.

I thought that if there was a pacifier weaning product that could be retailed for around $10 including shipping, it would be affordable for most parents. I would definitely have bought it!

Hence, “Ditch the Dummy” was born.

I originally came up with the name “Binky Stop” but after research, found the word “Binky” was trademarked by another company, and so were most catchy pacifier names.

I was born in England, we call pacifier “Dummies,” and so “Ditch the Dummy” was it.

We are currently selling “Ditch the Dummy” from our website www.ditchthedummy.com, as well as on eBay and Amazon.

2. The number of aspiring entrepreneurs is rapidly growing, and everyone is looking for a way to click with their online target audience(s). Do you have any tips to share about how to connect with potential buyers?

Connecting with potential buyers is always going to be the hardest part of bringing a new product to market. Luckily with a niche product like mine, with a defined target “parents between the age of 20 and 40”, it’s a little easier to narrow down your target audience. I find Twitter and Facebook advertising to be my best source for customers. By joining lots of parenting groups on both these platforms, posting articles, blogs and ads regularly.

Website SEO is also an ongoing work of art. Pay per click advertising can be quite expensive so spending some cash on search engine optimization may be a must, if you’re as non-techie as me. I definitely recommend the Yoast Premium plug in for any website.

3. What are your top three tips for people looking to establish an online presence?

Top three tips for people looking to establish an online presence would be: 1. read lots of books on marketing strategy, social media and e-marketing and take plenty of notes. There’s also a huge learning source out there on YouTube – I found most of my social media advertising tips from an Australian YouTuber called “Lazy Ass Stoner”! 2. Get to know your competition, follow them, what are they doing that you can do better? Then do it. 3. Be prepared to spend hours and hours on your computer.

4. What is your favorite part about running your own business?

My favorite part of running my own business, is not that I don’t have a boss (in fact I do, it’s Me, and I’m a toughie). But I love that I can stay home and work. I’m here if my little boy gets ill and needs to stay home one day. This was a huge problem when I had my 9 – 5  job.

5. Did you have any big aha! moments as you launched Ditch The Dummy?

When I launched “Ditch the Dummy” I guess my big aha moment was my first sale! You just can’t beat that feeling.

6. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

I believe the top 3 skills needed for any budding entrepreneur would be, first – time management. I was all over the place at first, but now I have my days planned, I know what I’m doing, I no longer feel that I’ve worked all day and just spun my wheels!

Second would be delegation. You soon find out that you can’t actually do everything yourself. If you have family or friends who can help out in any way, don’t be afraid to reach out. This can save a lot of time, frustration and energy on your part. Let people know what your doing – the helpful tips will soon start rolling in.

I believe the third would be tenacity. You have to believe in your product and stand beside it 100%. You have to be as tenacious as a bulldog, your product is your chew toy. You need to keep shaking that chew toy to get it noticed. The minute you stop, your sales will too.

7. What have been some of your failures since launching Ditch The Dummy, and what have you learned from them?

I guess my biggest failure in the “Ditch the Dummy” launch was in the development of our website. I’m not at all techie, and actually got my website account suspended in Google Shopping. There were a lot of hoops to jump through to get it reinstated, believe me. There’s a lot more to a website than pretty pictures and a shopping cart, so do your research; make sure you have all your policies in place. Do not – I repeat do not, upset Google!

8. As a momtrepreneur, what advice can you offer other moms who are trying to launch a brand-new business?

As a momtrepreneur (We eventually managed to adopt Joey) I think the best advice for other Moms starting their own businesses would be to get a mentor or a series of mentors. At the very beginning of my journey, I joined Micromentor.org. I think I’m on my 6th mentor at the moment and still in contact with my first. Micromentor.org a free website where you can connect with mentors for all stages of your business, from creation to marketing to website SEO. These mentors are experienced business people who make themselves available free of charge and have a wealth of knowledge.

9. If you had the chance to begin your career again, what would you do differently?

If I had a chance to start my career again? Well, this is my new start! In retrospect, I should have done a huge pre-launch. I waited for my product to land in Miami before I actually did any marketing. I basically wasted quite a lot of time. I was just so worried about something happening to my product and not being able to fulfill pre-orders. Well, we did have a hurricane!

10. What motivates you?

Motivation? For decades parents have been snipping holes in their child’s pacifiers for weaning purposes without knowing the dangers and this needs to stop. We need to educate. This is my mission.

Every transitional period in a young child’s life can be pretty traumatic, for both parent and child. I hope “Ditch the Dummy” will make life just a little easier and safer for the 40%, yes, 40% of toddlers who have “Pacifier Addiction.” This is my motivation.

If you’re not motivated by your mission and/or your product, then maybe, just maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for your entrepreneurial success.

Check out Ditch the Dummy on Facebook and visit their website!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas in Cabo, Plus a Giveaway!!!!

I love this time of year – lights, decorations, holiday tunes, and even…get ready for it…the MALLS!!!! It’s just so festive and fun. This year, I decided to inundate myself with Christmas cheer and channel it into a short story just in time for the holidays. I watched the Hallmark channel incessantly for inspiration, and I hope you love the end result. If you’re looking for a sexy, short read with all the feels, check out Christmas in Cabo, FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED!!!!

Time for a little holly jolly…under the mistletoe AND under the covers!!!

One-Click Now on Amazon!

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Synopsis

Signing his name on the deal of a lifetime will make computer genius Carter Reed a multimillionaire, rich beyond his wildest dreams. But all the money in the world can’t buy back the one thing he’d so carelessly pushed away years ago.

A holiday escape to Cabo seems like the perfect way to forget what he’d lost, until fate convinces him otherwise. Will he finally get his true Christmas wish?

Now for the giveaway…

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, just #LIKE, #SHARE, and #COMMENT on a Facebook post! Click here to enter! The winner will be notified by email on December 7.

Good luck!

Play Safe, Play Smart With Brimsuits For Toddlers

It’s always so exciting when you come up with “THE BIG IDEA” – the one that you’re passionate about, the one you receive great feedback about, and the one which you believe will make your life easier. You just know it’ll explode, but you need financing to bring the product to the masses.

A fellow idea mama, Dominique Parrish, is doing just that. She came up with an inventive design for brimsuits, which are hats for toddlers…hats they actually will wear because they are cleverly attached to a matching shirt! Theses suits are made of UPF 50 materials and are effective in protecting against the sun’s damaging rays without compromising the “cute.”

The product has significant competitive advantages, such as:

1) Superior sun protection. All of the fabrics are made with UPF 50+ materials and the company has a patent pending on the attached brimmed hood – protecting the child’s body, neck, ears and face from sun’s harmful UV rays.

 2) The hat is attached to the shirt, so it makes pulling the hat off over the face impossible. There is a tie closure under the chin, adjustable draw string head size, and a wide brim for optimal sun protection.

3) Even if the hat is removed it will be conveniently attached and ready to put back on in seconds. No more worrying about losing hats, having them blow off in the wind, or sink to the bottom of the pool/ocean.

But, aside from the benefits, there are expenses…LOTS of expenses to bring this product to market. So, Dominique created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the costs of making this product a reality.

Join Dominique in her quest to protect kids without sacrificing outdoor fun! You can read more about the project and support the Kickstarter campaign for brimsuits by clicking here.

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A.J. Morgan Is FINALLY Here…With A Giveaway!!!

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Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Photo Credit: Josh Edmonds
Models: Sam Anderton & Savannah Kaitlyn Jefferson
Release Date: August 29, 2016

~Purchase Links~

iBooks ~ Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords 

~Synopsis~

Notorious celebrity playboy A.J. Morgan has more emotional baggage than notches on his well-used bedpost, but bleached blonde three-ways and excess of whiskey are all the therapy he needs.

Live to indulge, indulge to fill the voids.

Those are his rules…. until he meets cunning financial analyst-slash-sexy club singer Lisa Embry, a woman whose heart is surrounded by more barbed wire than a high-security prison.

Rules? What rules?

One lust-filled romp with his female alter-ego turns A.J. into an addict in need of his next fix and he’ll pay any price for another hit.

But Lisa has her own rules… ones that can never be broken.

Goodreads

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~Giveaway~

Signed paperback & One of Five Amazon eBooks for Joint Venture

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway
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~Also Available~

Unlikely Venture (Book 1) Purchase Links – FREE
Nothing Ventured (Book 2) Purchase Links
Venture Forward (Book 3) Purchase Links

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~Connect with Me!~

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Happy Cover Reveal To Me, Plus A GIVEAWAY!!!

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Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Models: Sam Anderton & Savannah Kaitlyn Jefferson
Release Date: August 29, 2016

Synopsis

Notorious celebrity playboy A.J. Morgan has more emotional baggage than notches on his well-used bedpost, but bleached blonde three-ways and excess of whiskey are all the therapy he needs.

Live to indulge, indulge to fill the voids.

Those are his rules…. until he meets cunning financial analyst-slash-sexy club singer Lisa Embry, a woman whose heart is surrounded by more barbed wire than a high-security prison.

Rules? What rules?

One lust-filled romp with his female alter-ego turns A.J. into an addict in need of his next fix and he’ll pay any price for another hit.

But Lisa has her own rules… ones that can never be broken.

Goodreads

Pre-Order Link

iBooks Exclusive: http://apple.co/2aMOHuK

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Giveaway

One of Five ARC’s for Joint Venture

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250293/?

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Also Available

Unlikely Venture (Book 1) Purchase Links – FREE
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2aNlysY
Nothing Ventured (Book 2) Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2bbva6x
Venture Forward (Book 3) Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2blfbmM

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Connect with Me!

Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/1C27Kbh

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b0vIHB

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2aPbs0N

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b9EztR

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2b2dqbg

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2b2dmIq

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2blb620

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