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Starting Your Own Business After Military Service

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The average age that American military personnel retire is 46.8 years old. After a full career of service, for many veterans the question is – what’s next? This is the ideal time to think about starting your own business and pursuing your passions in life. You can be your own boss, set your own hours and kickstart a new future for you and your family.

When you are starting your own business however, it is important to find your own niche market and develop your ideas. It is virtually impossible to compete with the conglomerate giants, but if you have a great idea that is realistic and manageable, you can build a successful business after military service. 

Funding your business

To get your business up and running, you are going to need startup funds. It may be that you have accumulated savings during your years of service, but if you haven’t, there are still ways to get your business off the ground. A Hero Loan is a VA loan program that is designed specifically for veterans and military families.

This type of home loan could give you the capital that you need to fund your business. Kickstarter is another popular option for raising business capital, but you will need to have a clear vision that you can market to the masses, showing that you have an investable product or service. Successful companies that were built using Kickstarter include Oculus, Pebble and M3D. 

Get some great advice

If you are new to the business world, it is a good idea to get some advice and mentorship to help develop your business plans. There are many free programs for veterans that can help you to succeed and thrive. In fact research done by Experian has found that businesses that are owned by veterans have greater sustainability and longevity than non-veteran-owned businesses. The Reboot program is open to all veterans and their spouses and can help you get to grips with entrepreneurial business concepts and fundamentals. VETRN helps to train new small business owners, completely free of charge, so if you’re on a tight budget, this is a great program to get involved in. 

Developing your ideas

Even if you are completely new to the world of business, the average veteran has a wealth of life experience and an understanding of the community that you can build on. Look around your local community and see what they need – it’s a simple concept – find a need and then fill it. You can then start creating a business plan to incorporate your goals, service or product development and financial projections. It will help to develop market surveys and take part in competitive analysis to help bring your niche business ideas into fruition. 

After military service, there can be a great career ahead of you, developing your own business. With some startup funding and a mentorship program, you can work towards turning your business into a thriving, successful enterprise.  

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Fast growing opportunities: What is content entrepreneurship?

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There are many types of entrepreneurship — from inventing and building prototypes in your basement or garage to side hustles to raising venture capital and developing the latest new software to change the world. One of the fastest-growing is also one that got its name most recently: content entrepreneurship.

Curious? So was I. So, here’s what I’ve learned about what content entrepreneurship is, how it’s different (and similar) to blogging or being an influencer, and how you can make money as a content entrepreneur.

What is content entrepreneurship?

Historically, businesses have provided one of two things: physical goods (either as makers or resellers) or services (accountants, plumbers and virtual assistants, etc).

There are also subcategories of entrepreneurship. First is innovation entrepreneurship, which focuses on developing, implementing or commercializing novel ideas and technologies. Another growing type of entrepreneurship is social entrepreneurship, where leaders build businesses to solve social problems like access to food, money and education.

Now we add a whole new type of entrepreneurship: content entrepreneurship.

The phrase content entrepreneurship was introduced by Joe Pulizzi, who also introduced the term content marketing. A content entrepreneur creates and distributes a blog, podcast, or video series for their audience to generate revenue.

Once they have built an engaged following, content entrepreneurs monetize through several revenue streams, increasing their profitability and growth.

What it means to be a content entrepreneur (vs. influencer or blogger)

On the surface, it’s easy to think that being a content entrepreneur is the same as being a blogger or an influencer. First, let’s look at the similarities.

First, bloggers, influencers and content entrepreneurs all spend the bulk of their time creating content. For bloggers, the content is written, but influencers and content entrepreneurs may also leverage podcasts, video channels and social media platforms to build their reach.

All three types of entrepreneurs sell to their audience to make money. Influencers sell access to their audience through sponsorships — they recommend products and services. Bloggers often monetize their audience using affiliate programs, earning a commission on products they recommend, or through ads that appear on their site, leveraging their traffic to make money.

But there are a few things that all three types of businesses do differently.

The difference between being an influencer and a content entrepreneur has to do with the intent — an influencer does not try to generate revenue through their content; they just want to make money by influencing others. They develop content to connect with their audience. Then they make money through those audiences.

Bloggers are somewhere in between: while a blogger may also have other businesses or jobs and is generating income from that, their blog generates some revenue. Blogging can be done full-time, part-time, at night after children go to bed, during your lunch break, etc.

Content entrepreneurs focus on building a sustainable business and often tie their content to a unique niche brand.

Content entrepreneurs are focused on building a sustainable business. Their content is often tied to a unique niche brand rather than their personal brand.

Inside the business, it also often looks more like a traditional media company than an independent blogger or influencer. They leverage teams to help them build and distribute content in sustainable ways and have repeatable processes for success.

In many cases, content entrepreneurs may have started as bloggers or influencers and then expanded their business operations and processes to grow into content entrepreneurship. In fact, many of the bloggers or influencers you follow now fit the mold of content entrepreneurs.

How content entrepreneurs make money

One of the most significant differences between content entrepreneurs, bloggers and influencers is how they make money. Content entrepreneurship has an entrepreneurial approach to diversifying income streams which can include:

Advertising

Placing ads on a website or in an email newsletter. These ads appear with the content the business would be creating anyway to appeal to their audience. The content entrepreneur can either make money from each placement or based on the ad’s impressions, called a CPM basis in ad sales.

Sponsored content

Creating content from blogs and articles to videos and social media posts paid for and promoting a specific product or service. The content entrepreneur can make money for making the content and may also earn a percentage of sales.

Affiliate programs

Either working directly with brands or through programs like Amazon Associates to promote products and services. The content entrepreneur makes a commission when someone purchases a product using the affiliate link.

Donations and audience sponsorship

With the rise of services like Patreon and Buy Me a Coffee, content entrepreneurs can also earn directly from their audience. A content producer will offer bonus or premium content in exchange for subscriptions or donations.

Consulting and coaching services

When a content entrepreneur becomes a recognized expert in their niche, they can also monetize by offering to work directly with select people or organizations. This work is a premium service and typically is only available to a few people at a time.

Courses and memberships

Experts can also leverage creating courses and memberships to share their knowledge with more people at scale. Courses are offered live or asynchronously. Memberships typically provide a blend of education and community.

Product sales

In some niches, content entrepreneurs develop their own products independently or through a co-branding agreement. These products may be sold directly to their audience, through partners, or through retail businesses.

Licensing rights

From time to time, another company will pay to republish existing content on their site as part of a licensing agreement.

These arrangements are often highly lucrative for content creators, giving them both financial benefits and increased visibility.

Bloggers, influencers and content entrepreneurs can all use any combination of these tactics to generate income from their content. The difference is that content entrepreneurs typically leverage many of these.

Should you be a content entrepreneur?

If you’ve already started building a blog or have a following, you might be wondering if content entrepreneurship is a path you should take. Here are some questions to ask yourself when making this choice:

Is your business a project of passion or a project of opportunity? Content entrepreneurship is more similar to running a media company than a blog that feeds your curiosity.

Either way, it’s important to identify why you’re interested in creating this type of content.

Content entrepreneurship means you’ll be creating content around that topic for a long time.

Do you want to lead a team? To scale, content entrepreneurs often use a team to accelerate their content creation, amplify their messaging, and streamline their operations. To grow the business, you need to be willing and able to lead a team.

Is there a clear audience need? Content entrepreneurs don’t just create content because it’s what they’re passionate about. They’re producing the content to meet the needs of their ideal audience and target customers.

Which monetization paths interest you? Which of them make sense for the niche you’re considering? Successful content entrepreneurs leverage multiple income streams. Before you set a goal of building a content entrepreneurship business, identify which income streams make sense for your niche so you can set goals.

Whether content entrepreneurship is right for you now or a path you want to explore in the future, the business of content entrepreneurship is here to stay.



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A 29-year-old turned her quarantine hobby into a jewelry business beloved by models and a 'Bachelor' star. Here's how she spends her day.

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Charlotte Alden
Charlotte Alden

  • Charlotte Alden is the founder of jewelry company lottie, which she started after losing her job last year.
  • Models and celebrities are already sporting her handmade designs.
  • To Insider, Alden gives a behind-the-scenes look at running a jewelry brand as the category heats up.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Charlotte Alden was working as an art specialist at an auction house when COVID-19 reached the US and shuttered roughly 200,000 businesses. She lost her job and struggled to find another, so she bought a bead kit on Amazon and launched her own jewelry company in October.

"It's never been more feasible to start an e-commerce company," said Alden, founder of fine jewelry startup lottie, which already counts model Nina Agdal and "The Bachelor's" Hannah Goodwin as fans. Alden crafts all the jewelry, including $150 body chains and $70 bracelets.

Alden is one of 4 million people who started businesses in 2020, a 24% increase from the year prior. What's more, she entered a thriving market: The global jewelry market is growing and expected to reach a value of $292 billion by 2025. Despite just getting started, lottie is on track to book nearly six figures in revenue within the next year and Alden said average monthly revenue has risen 50% year-to-date, according to documents viewed by Insider.

Alden said practicing discipline was vital when turning her hobby into a thriving business. This includes running every morning and going to bed at the same time every night. For Insider, Alden breaks down how she structures her day so she can execute on her ideas and find balance in her life.

She wakes up at 7:30 p.m.

Lottie jewelry
Lottie

After waking up, Alden immediately checks her phone. She responds to unanswered text messages, skims through her email, and checks lottie’s Instagram, which already has 16,000 followers.

“It’s a bad habit, I know,” said Alden, who shuffles between her parents’ house on Martha’s Vineyard, where she keeps her inventory, and her boyfriend’s apartment in Manhattan to save money.

Phone still in hand, she makes herself a double espresso and checks Shopify to see if the company made any new sales since the day before. That wouldn’t be unrealistic for lottie: In the past 90 days, lottie’s web traffic increased by 129%.

Alden is lottie’s sole employee but she’s still able to plan a new collection and collaborations, including ones with significant properties like Palm Beach Historic Inn and Hudson Chatham Winery. 

“lottie’s success and failure is my responsibility,” she said. “But another aspect of maintaining balance is never getting too high, and never getting too low.”

At 9 a.m., she prepares for the workday

Lottie jewelry swimwear collection
Swimsuit collaboration lottie just finished with sustainable swimwear brand Ricki Rum.

Alden puts her phone down to exercise, which helps her maintain a healthy mindset and balanced routine. Then she’ll shower, have breakfast, and ship prepackaged lottie orders from USPS. 

“If I don’t get out the orders first thing, I never end up making it to the post office that day,” she said, noting that she’ll get consumed by her inbox. 

Once she’s home, she begins working on lottie’s social media strategy, using Instagram management app UNUM to plan posts weeks in advance. Around 10 a.m., she’ll start taking phone calls and chatting with suppliers, customers, and potential brand collaborators.

Sourcing materials and planning collaborations take up her afternoon

Lottie collaboration with Break the Love
Lottie collaboration with Break the Love

Alden officially starts her workday around 11 a.m. when she speaks with her manufacturers about sourcing elements for her jewelry. Finding the necessary raw materials is one of Alden’s biggest challenges and she often has to purchase goods from multiple suppliers in order to make one necklace. 

Before breaking for lunch, she meets with a consultant to plan other brand collaborations. In addition to the partnerships with physical properties, Alden is making a tennis bracelet for the Adidas-backed sports company Break the Love. 

Alden is also planning to open lottie pop-up locations this summer. Previous versions were in Brooklyn, Miami, and East Hampton; future ones will be in Manhattan, Palm Beach, and on Martha’s Vineyard.

The remainder of the day is reserved for making jewelry

Jewelry by lottie
Jewelry handmade by Charlotte Alden for lottie

After scarfing down lunch, Alden spends the rest of her day making jewelry. It can take her between five minutes and one hour to make a piece, but the key is keeping her materials neat, she said. 

“Every little bead or crimp can get so expensive,” she said. “It’s important to stay organized and not lose anything.” 

Alden taught herself how to make jewelry through trial and error, learning about semi-precious gemstones and the difference between gold-plated and gold-filled, she said. “There’s a lot more that goes into it besides stringing beads,” she added. 

When she completes a piece, she photographs it for Instagram. She’ll also send press boxes to celebrities, like Charli D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain, in the hopes that they will share them with their followers.

Getting enough sleep sets the tone for tomorrow

Charlotte Alden
Charlotte Alden

Around 7 p.m., Alden showers, dons her pajamas, and takes her work to the couch. 

Despite the change in scenery, she’ll continue crafting jewelry, making social content, and packaging the orders she’ll send the following morning. 

Even if she’s not tired, she’ll stop working at 10 p.m. and tuck herself into bed. “Getting a good night’s sleep can determine my entire day,” she said.

Then she wakes up and does it all again tomorrow.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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9 Reasons Why You Should Consider an Entrepreneurial Career

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If you are looking for a change of career, becoming an entrepreneur and running your own business could be a great option. 

There are so many reasons to start your own business and before you sign on for the next predictable 9-to-5 job, consider what you could do for yourself to improve your career prospects and your financial prospects by running your own business instead. 

An Exciting Career

Running your own business could be an exciting career choice that leaves you feeling fulfilled with the satisfaction of seeing that your hard work has paid off with success and profit. 

Whether you are into social enterprise, home services, or manufacturing and selling your own products, there are plenty of opportunities to choose from and to be creative in how you build your business. 

Being your own boss offers you the opportunity to work the way you want to work and allows you to take an individual approach to projects and tasks that are important to your business. 

Whether you are a budding engineer eager to start your own business or just looking to make money on the side, this list will help you make your mind up.

You Are Your Own Boss

One of the biggest reasons for becoming self-employed is to be your own boss and thankfully there are lots of options for people who want to be their own boss; being an entrepreneur nowadays is easier than ever. 

There are a lot of options available for people who want to be their own boss, such as running a simple blog, start-up, or even service business such as coaching or becoming a lawyer and running your own practice. 

No matter what you do, the opportunity is yours to grab and to make a success of. 

With the right amount of determination and enthusiasm coupled with a decent idea, almost anyone can find success in being their own boss.

Time Freedom

Having the option of working from home and having some time freedom is another plus side to being your own boss – whether you work all week or not at all, the choice is yours. 

Running your own business can also allow you to take time off for holidays, short breaks, or even time out to rest and recuperate from the hectic lifestyle of modern-day life.

Work-Life Balance

By choosing to become self-employed, you can establish a much better work-life balance. 

By being your own boss, you can allocate time for yourself when you want to spend time with friends and family or take part in hobbies or interests that you would not have had the chance to do if working for someone else.

Multiple Income Streams

As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity of having multiple different income streams that can create a healthy balance in your bank account. 

Multitasking is encouraged as a self-employed business owner; you have multiple ways of earning money from your business according to what works for you and your business. 

This helps to create a much healthier lifestyle and a more comfortable financial situation.

Being your own boss offers you the freedom to dedicate time to what really matters to you such as professional development, education, hobbies and family. 

You Could Have A Flexible Schedule

If you are a busy person, running your own business could be the answer to having a flexible schedule. With offices or workstations being less visible than before, there is now more flexibility. 

Your company could be located in a different part of the country than where you live, and you could still have the opportunity to work from home as long as your Internet connectivity is sufficient.

Thanks to the global health pandemic, working remotely is becoming a more regular option with companies becoming used to staff working from home or anywhere else they have an Internet connection.

Flexible working hours are becoming the norm and flexibility is prized above all else when it comes to employees who want a successful career, and there is no reason why you should not take advantage of that mindset change as an entrepreneur.

Working With Like-Minded People

Working from home can sometimes feel isolating, and it is great to be able to work with like-minded people when you are self-employed. 

Even if you hire employees to work for you, a workplace of like-minded entrepreneurs and self-starters is always a positive experience. Working with like-minded people will always inspire you to new heights and encourage your creativity.

If you are running solo in your career, collaborating with others or joining a coworking environment is a great way to improve your work productivity while meeting others who have a similar situation to you.

You Are Your Own Supervisor

Being your own boss means that no one else can tell you what to do or when to do it. You are your own supervisor and have complete control over how your business works, what direction it takes, and when things get done.

Running your own business means that you are in charge. No one else is in charge of telling you how to do things and how long things need to take.

One of the most rewarding careers is one that gives you the opportunity to take control of your own destiny and work in a position where you are able to work for yourself, set your own hours, and have the flexibility to work.

You Have More Freedom to be Creative

In a corporate job, it can sometimes feel like you are just a small cog in the machinery that is your company. 

Creative freedom is something that is not really present in many corporate jobs, but being able to decide how you run your business is a massive opportunity for an entrepreneur who wants creative freedom.

With the freedom to be creative and make yourself stand out from the crowd, being self-employed can open up a huge number of doors for you.

Having A Job That Fits With Your Values

Many people are choosing to go into business for themselves because they want the freedom to do what they love and make a difference in the world. Many want to have a job that reflects their values and being self-employed means you are not limited to one company or job description.

Being able to reflect your values into your work is a great way of making sure that you never have a boring day at work, it is something that will pay you back ten times over in terms of satisfaction.

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