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I'm a tech executive who moved from Silicon Valley to Houston. I know firsthand why the tech industry is packing up and hightailing it to Texas.

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Yang Tang, the author of this piece, left Silicon Valley for Texas.

Yang Tang


  • Texas is poised to outpace California in industrial innovation.
  • There is a reason venture capitalists are pouring millions of dollars into tech innovation in Texas.
  • Texas is home to incredible diversity, a spirit of ingenuity, and major industries that need innovation. 
  • Yang Tang is the chief technology officer at Houston-based GoExpedi.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. 

Here’s something you already know: California-based businesses – Tesla, Oracle, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and many others – have made Texas the state of choice when it comes to relocating headquarters and opening satellite offices for several years now.

The reasons? It’s cheaper to operate a business; there is no state income tax; there is an abundance of land, pro-business policies, lower cost of living, significant talent pool for hiring; and the list goes on and on.

But let’s discuss something that may boggle some minds — at least for those who are out-of-state looking in. Why are tech executives leaving Silicon Valley? It’s easy to understand why an oil and gas company would relocate to Texas — Houston is the energy capital of the world — or even healthcare startups — the city is home to some of the world’s premier medical centers, but why would technology companies leave the reigning epicenter of the tech universe for the Lone Star state?

The primary reason, in my opinion, is because of the opportunities to apply new technologies in our country’s largest industrial sectors. I am Texas’s latest Silicon Valley transplant and am witnessing this firsthand. 

Like many other tech executives, I think Texas is positioned to outpace California due to its proximity to the world’s top companies in energy, healthcare, and aerospace, to name a few, and its willingness to innovate with technology in those industries. 

That’s why I’m here, leading the technology operations for an emerging e-commerce company for industrial businesses like oil and gas, manufacturing, and others. Before I dive into the immense opportunities for enterprises driven by the state, I’d like to quickly share my journey so you can better understand why there’s no place like Texas. 

My journey

My father grew up in communist China in tenement housing. Living with his family of 12 in a single room, he was the only child to attend college. He knew it would be nearly impossible to be successful through hard work alone given various cultural shifts by the country following his graduation. Therefore, he moved to the US a few years later and built a career in astrophysics and data mining. He eventually landed a rewarding financial services career in Boston — where I’m from.

I graduated from universities on the East and West coast — most recently the MIT Executive MBA program — and worked most of my career for companies with footprints in Silicon Valley, from Accenture to eBay to Walmart to ABInBev. During my time in that area, I personally witnessed what works and what can be improved upon in an increasingly digital world.

… And I will go to Texas

Don’t get me wrong. Silicon Valley has and will continue to pave the way for some of the world’s most forward-thinking companies, supported by its specialized tech workforce, concentration of capital, and world-class educational institutions. However, in today’s world, I believe the innovation stemming from this region is incremental compared to what I’ve observed in Houston. 

Out of all the major and booming markets of Texas that house various large industries I chose Houston as my new hometown for its diversity of people and thought. The city’s major port, healthcare systems, and energy sector have had a significant effect on the local, state, and national economies and have set Houston apart from the rest of Texas. Additionally, as the most diverse city in the country, Houston presents endless opportunities and is a melting pot for new ideas and the spirit of ingenuity — the same spirit and community that created Viet-Cajun Crawfish

That’s what makes Houston a prime location for the next wave of innovation. Industrial companies in the region are securing millions of venture capital dollars annually — $2.6 billion in total over the last five years — and are allowing engineers, like myself, to do what they do best: use their tech, resources, skills, and knowledge to solve unique and complex issues out in the field. That’s where the true power of technology takes shape and allows us to grow economies, attract more jobs and talent, improve lifestyle and beyond. 

Prime examples are the revitalization of the aerospace industry from Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Boca Chica, Texas, and Houston-based biopharma company Nanospectra, which is spearheading a patient-centric use of nanomedicine for the removal of cancerous tissue. 

The same yearning for opportunity and innovation my father experienced can now be found in Houston – not just on the East and West coasts. If folks looking in still don’t see Houston and Texas as the next technology mecca, they soon will.

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3 different ways to monetize your blog as a business owner

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Affiliate marketing is one popular way to make money off a blog.

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  • Blogs are an inexpensive and low-risk way for creators and business owners to build an online audience. 
  • Depending on the size of your audience, you can partner with different advertisers to run display ads.
  • Another lucrative way to monetize your blog is to sell your own products or services. 

There are a million and one business ideas that any aspiring founder can pursue. However, I believe blogging is one of the best options due to the ease of getting started, low startup cost, and ability to scale.

When I started my blog, all it took was getting my domain and hosting set up and then choosing a CMS provider so that I could begin creating content. Running my blog over the past two years has been an exciting journey. I’ve learned a lot about the digital marketing space and what drives traffic to a website. One important lesson I learned is that no one will visit your website for the first few months of its existence. If you’re experiencing something similar, don’t falter. Create a consistent production schedule, see if you can get some writers to help out for free, and try to guest post on other blogs to boost your credibility.

I also learned that when you start, make sure you’re not starting too broad. For example, if you want to start a blog around plants, start with, say, a blog around dandelions. The more specific you get, the easier it is to rank for the terms you want and the less pressure you will feel to cover multiple topics.

Beyond these beginners’ lessons, here’s what I’ve learned about how you can monetize a blog. You can use display advertising, affiliate sales, or sell a product or service.

1. Display advertising

Display advertising, which can be set up through Google Ad Sense, is the quickest and easiest way to start monetizing your blog. The issue with this approach is that it is also the least profitable approach. Your revenue per thousand visitors will be anywhere between $0.30 to $2

As your blog grows, you can start partnering with more exclusive advertising networks like Mediavine, which requires monthly traffic of at least 50,000 people, or Ad Thrive, which requires monthly traffic of at least 100,000 people. Depending on your niche, these networks will pay you anywhere from $10 to $40 per 1,000 visitors.

2. Affiliate sales

The second method, affiliate sales, is when you get a commission every time you sell another company’s product. This is the approach recommended to most people getting into blogging, as you don’t need to go through the hurdles of creating a product yourself. Also, you don’t need nearly as much traffic as you would need from display advertising to make a living.

The downfall of this approach is that you don’t control the product or service that you’re offering. At any point, the company you are promoting could discontinue its product or cut its commissions. 

3. Sell a product or service

The final way you could monetize your blog is by selling a product or service. This is the most lucrative approach but comes with the most risk. When starting your blog, you’re not going to have any traffic. So not only do you have to go through the time and monetary commitment of building a product or service, you also need to do all the necessary steps to grow your traffic. 

The most common approach you’ll see is starting with affiliate marketing. Then, once you have consistent cash coming in, build your product or service in the same space and direct your visitors to your offer rather than to your affiliate offer.

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How to sell your art at craft fairs

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Turn art into business

There is something truly magical about meeting potential buyers at a live event such as a craft fair, farmer’s market, convention or similar outlet. There’s an energy of hope in the air that comes with the start of the event. You set up your booth, and you hope that the people that walk through the doors like your stuff enough to buy the bits and bobs you worked painstakingly on for weeks, if not months. But, how do you sell your art at craft fairs?

There is so much that goes into setting yourself up for success. If you hope to sell your art at craft fairs, you can’t just show up and slap price stickers on your goods and walk away with a bag of cash.

With that in mind, I reached out to artisans who create and craft and asked them to spill their best tips for how to sell at craft fairs. I’m sharing what they told me below. But before we get to that — let’s explore why it can be beneficial to sell at one in the first place.

Why you should sell at craft fairs

One of the big reasons that people start researching how to sell at craft fairs is because they want to make some extra money. The benefits of selling your art at one include, but aren’t limited to:

  • New buyers that are likely looking to make a purchase. Most people that attend craft fairs are looking for a new prize to take home, or for that perfectly unique gift for someone.
  • Networking opportunities. When you’re at a craft fair you can connect with other artists, form friendships, and sometimes create partnerships, too.
  • New ideas. Every artist needs inspiration. Seeing other people’s work can give you new creative ideas for your own work.
  • Market research opportunities. Perhaps you’ve been playing with a new medium, or have tried a new style. What better way to test out your new ideas than to take them to a place where buyers will be?
  • Branding. You need to put yourself out there if you hope to become well known for your work. Meeting new crowds and promoting your art at craft fairs gives you the chance to spread the word about your brand. And yes, even artists can have a brand.

Related: A beginner’s guide to branding your business

How to sell at craft fairs

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of selling your crafted goods at a fair, here are six tips to learn how to sell at craft fairs

  • Do your research ahead of time.
  • Know your ideal customer, and look the part.
  • Go to the event before you’re a vendor if you can.
  • Bring multiple types of art.
  • Spend time and money on your booth.
  • Spread the word before you attend.

Let’s get started!

1. Do your research ahead of time

Person using laptop with graphs scattered nearby

Julie Bonner of Julie Originals says you should do a lot of research before signing up for any craft fairs, farmer’s markets, etc. The trick to how to sell at craft fairs she says is knowing things like:

  • The type of audience the event you will be selling at typically draws in
  • The average number of attendees you can expect
  • If they require vendors to have a social media presence to promote — when vendors don’t promote, it can hurt attendance
  • Whether or not you will have electricity — your fancy display with the lights won’t do much good if you can’t plug it in

2. Know your ideal customer, and look the part

For Stephanie Odell, owner of Calithien Jewellery, knowing her ideal customer and looking the part has been her key for how to sell at craft fairs. She makes whimsical fine jewelry, and she says that if your ideal customer won’t be at the event, you shouldn’t even bother showing up.

“For example, if you’re selling high-end goods and the other vendors are all selling mass-market products, you’re probably in the wrong market,” Stephanie says. “Along the same vein, your booth should be designed with your ideal customer in mind. Your color choices, display items, and the thought into the placement of your product will all reflect a certain subconscious feeling back to your prospective customers. A few little details can make a big difference in attracting those who are likely to purchase from you.”

3. Go to the event before you’re a vendor, if you can

Madison Osborne who also sells handmade jewelry says it’s a good idea to actually attend some farmer’s markets, and see what kind of people are vendors and attendees before you commit to being a vendor yourself.

This way you can make sure your art and handmade goods will fit in with what the buyers of that specific type of event.

She also says to mingle with your “would-be competition” to get the lay of the land. This tip is mostly helpful for farmer’s markets that happen weekly or monthly as opposed to annual or semi-annual craft shows.

4. Bring multiple types of art

Person making beaded art

Person making beaded art

Sabrina Hartel of iNNo Art Prints says her number one tip for how to sell at craft fairs is to bring a variety of products.

“Just because it’s not your favorite piece of work, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t adore it,” Sabrina says.

Bring items at multiple price points too. This way you can appeal to every budget level of buyer.

Pria Maineri of 88kitty echoes this sentiment and added, bring multiple ways for your customers to pay, too. Be prepared to accept cash or credit — maybe even Venmo.

Editor’s note: Looking for a payment option for your craft business? Check out GoDaddy Payments! You can connect it to your online store or provide customers with a Virtual Terminal or Online Pay Links. Click here to learn more!

5. Spend time and money on your booth

How To Sell At Craft Fairs Sarah MakerHow To Sell At Craft Fairs Sarah Maker
Photo: Sarah Maker on Instagram

Sarah Stearns aka Sarah Maker says the key to making more sales “is to spend a little extra time and money to make your booth presentation beautiful and well-organized. An eye-catching booth will grab your customers’ attention from afar as they stroll down the aisles of the craft fair.”

The return on investment will be well worth it.

There’s nothing worse than an overly cluttered booth that leaves the customer lost as to what you’re selling. No one wants to sift through bins of stuff for sale — so make your art presentable like it’s the prized piece they should take home with them.

6. Spread the word before you attend

Rowell Concepcion, owner and milliner at Binata Millinery, says if you have an email list and/or following on social media, use it to your advantage. This is especially helpful if you already have loyal fans online. They might be willing to share your appearance news, and in the best cases they will also show up to support you.

Rowell says start spreading the word two to three weeks ahead of time. He suggests “one or two email blasts, at least two Instagram grid posts, and four Instagram stories prior to your selling dates.”

Conclusions and next steps

Hopefully, the wheels in your head are turning with ways you can improve your sales numbers for the next craft fair or farmer’s market you will participate in.

For your next steps, I would recommend the following:

  1. Get a website so you have a place to drive traffic to, announce events you will be at, and a place to sell your art for people who can’t attend in person.
  2. Start taking really good photos of your artwork.
  3. Keep honing in on your ideal customer.
  4. Continue perfecting your craft.

If you’re ready to take your art online, check out GoDaddy can help you build your Online Store.



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15 Tips and Tricks For A Successful Business

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Doing business is not a cakewalk. You need to understand, learn, and manage several things before you actually do it. It is a task that requires continuous efforts. Therefore, it might take days, months, or even years to become successful.

It does not matter how small or big your business plan is. What is more important is how determined and dedicated you are to make it work. As a businessman or a businesswoman, you need to be spontaneous, informed, smart, analytical, and before that a good leader. 

Thereafter, you need to keep an eye on your business infrastructure including the building, factory, machines, control valves, security, etc. 

Making a business successful and keep it running is not a one-day affair. That is why you must take every step carefully.

Want to make your business successful? But you don’t know how to do it? Don’t worry and follow these 15 tips and tricks to make your business successful- 

1. Time And Effort Is Everything

Your business idea is your brainchild. Just like you take time to understand your child’s needs and make efforts to give them the best upbringing. You need to treat your business in the same manner in order to make it successful.

2. Focus Is Your Key To Success

For anything you want to do and make it reach great heights, you need to be focused. Getting distracted by other things can cost you a lot in your business. You need to focus on your goals and work hard every day to achieve them.

3. Have A Fool-Proof Business Plan

The first step towards a successful business is a business plan. Before anything else, prepare a fool-proof plan. This means that it must have all the pros and cons involved in your business. 

Nothing works without a plan. So, for instance, if you are trying to set up a business for valves and plumping supplies, you need to consider the best and the most trusted manufacturers like DomBor for your supply needs.

4. Be Prepared to Take Calculated Risks

A great business owner is one, who is not afraid of taking risks. To make your business successful and to make it sustainable in the longer run, you must be ready to take some calculated risks. You must know how your decision will affect your business and how much loss you will incur. Only after analyzing everything make your final decision.

5. Know The A to Z Of The Industry

If you are an amateur in the business industry, then first you must start with the basics. For that learn about every minute detail about how your industry works. You must be aware of the latest trends in your industry.  Also, what works and whatnot, and how to enter the industry initially.

6. Connect And Communicate

Another trick for making your business successful is to connect and communicate with people from the industry. Get to know about the industry leaders and upcoming talent personally or through social media. Exchange your ideas with them and try to expand and publicize your business. 

7. Keep A Check On Your Growth

Being a business owner you must keep a sharp eye on the growth of your business. Analyze the data, read it thoroughly, see where you are lacking, and what you can do to improve it.

8. Failures Are A Part Of The Process

If you ever face failures in your business, then don’t get disheartened. Because failures play an important part in the process of your success. Out of all the other things, they tell you about what not to do in a business.

9. Learn From Your Competitors

Your biggest learnings will come from your competitors. No one can teach you business better than them. Learn from them whenever and however you can. Use your creativity and intelligence and do what seems best for the success of your business.

10. Be Flexible In Your Approach

Never become too rigid with your approach to doing business. Be flexible with it and be open to changes. Sometimes what you feel is right may not be the best for your business. In that scenario, changing your approach might help.

11. Ensure Your Best Services

Always ensure the best services to your customers. Whether you are a small-scale business or a large-scale one, never compromise with the quality of your services. This builds your customer’s trust in you and ensures a long-term association. 

12. Market Your Business

It is important to prepare a market strategy for your business to make it successful. It helps you to introduce your business to a large number of people at the same time. 

13. Take Feedback To Know Your Customers Better

To make a business successful customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. You cannot meet all your customers in person. Thus, taking feedback from them online or offline is helpful to know your areas of improvement.  

14. Stick to your Core Values

Early success is a myth. It lasts for a short period of time and there is no guarantee that it will sustain itself. That is why instead of using shortcuts, stick to your core values and take your business to great heights.

15. Research And Repeat

Last and the most important tip is to keep researching about the new prospects in your business area. It is crucial to make your business successful.

Conclusion

Every business owner wants their business to reach great heights. But only a few of them know how to actually do it. Running a business is not an easy task. It requires years of hard work and continuous efforts. Also, you need to learn and unlearn facts.

Therefore, to make your business successful and to make it sustain that success, you need to be well informed. Also, you must be aware of the current business scenario of your respective sector. Just follow these steps and see your business become successful.

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