Entrepreneurship While You are 20-Something – Go For It!

If you just cannot fathom working for someone else and making them rich; if you are an independent sort who works best on your own schedule; if you have one or two ideas for ways to make money – things that you are passionate about, then you are probably ripe for being an entrepreneur. And there is no better time than now to pursue that dream. Here’s why:

  • Statistics tell us that only 39% of you 20-somethings are married. This means that you have not responsibility for anyone but yourself. So if you eat Ramen noodles for a while, at least you are not forcing anyone else to do the same.
  • You can be selfish right now – you are pursuing things that make you happy and fulfilled.
  • You are young and have the energy, the risk-taking mindset, and you know that if you fail, you have lot of options for the rest of your life.

Recipe for Success

Over half of small business startups fail within 5 years. You don’t want to be a part of that statistic, so here are some important tips that will get you on your way:

  1. Base Your Business on Something You Love: Perhaps you have a hobby about which you are passionate. Is it something that others will value? Suppose you love to cook up great stuff. Opening a restaurant may be a bit ambitious, but how about a food truck? Do you have a specialty food that your friends rave about? Colonel Sanders ran a gas station and cooked his chicken in the back, eventually selling it to customers. Jessica Eckstrom had a passion for kids with cancer when she began her Headbands of Hope company – a multi-million dollar enterprise today. And she began her business at the age of 19. Can you turn your passionate hobby into a product or service for others?
  2. Start Small: You will probably not be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. But you can begin locally and move to a larger audience gradually. Many small businesses have failed because they were too grandiose in the beginning. Start small, build gradually, and then look for investors. Suppose you develop a very cool app or game. This is known as a “pop up” business. Get it out there on the Apple store and then begin your marketing campaign. And that campaign can be almost fully conducted via social media, the cheapest way to go. You will need to become a bit of an “expert” on social media marketing, but there is plenty of education out there for the taking.
  3. Remind Yourself of Your Goals Daily: You became an entrepreneur for a reason. When you become discouraged, think about why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. Do you now want to compromise those principles and goals? Of course not. You may need to re-group; you may need to pivot a bit. But always keep in mind the overriding reasons for what you are doing.
  4. Embrace Rejection: You may not be an overnight success. Those to whom you try to market your product or service may not be receptive. J.K. Rowling had over 200 rejections before a publisher took her first Harry Potter Think about that when you get discouraged about rejections and move on. You are young and resilient, and that is certainly in your favor.
  5. Use Your Social Media Presence: More than all generations before you, you have grown up with a web presence. Learn how to promote your business on social media. You have the skills – you just need to learn the strategies. Again, there is a wealth of training for free at your fingertips.
  6. Make Connections with Other Successful Entrepreneurs: If you want constant support and encouragement, you need to dump those friends and perhaps family members who are negative and naysayers. You cannot be around those attitudes. Join networking groups of other entrepreneurs both online and in person. Once you surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs, you have a cheerleading section that won’t quit. And you’ll learn quite a bit.
  7. Promote Your Brand Everywhere: Never attend a social event or go to a bar without an “elevator pitch” and a business card. People will ask you what you do. You need an exciting and compelling 30-second pitch to present, along with your card. You never know who you may encounter. 

If you are really serious about this “being on your own” stuff, and if you have the passion for what you are offering, the rest is all detail. Get going on your dream now – you are at exactly the right point in your lie to do so.

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10 Green Business Ideas for Eco-Minded Entrepreneurs

Are you considering to start your own business but are concerned about the impact it will have on the environment? Green businesses are ecofriendly, and they go beyond the regulations to show their commitment to sustainable development. You do not need any particularly brilliant new idea. What is more, most of the green businesses are alternatives of the standard businesses, but with a nature-conscious management and production processes. Check out the following green business ideas.

1. Green Business Ideas – Organic farming

While businesses are going green, so are their customers. Everyone nowadays is switching to healthier lifestyle choices, and this particularly concerns the food they consume. The effect of this is that organically grown vegetables and fruits are highly sought, and this trend is sure to continue in the future. The market for these products is very developed, so you will have no trouble finding buyers. What do you need to start this business? A piece of land and love for outdoor work.

2. Organic menu restaurant

If you do not want your hands to get dirty, but still wish to take your piece of the pie in the ongoing healthy-eating trend, why not be on the other side of the transaction? Open a restaurant that would serve only organic meals, made from organic ingredients that you would be buying from organic farmers.

3. Green construction

Become a green contractor. Green construction simply means construction with eco-friendly materials and incorporation of energy saving systems, such as solar heating.

4. Recycling pickup

Recycling is also very popular these days. But no matter how determined people are to recycle, there is always the problem of what to do with bulk trash, like computers and house appliances, once you no longer need them. If you want to start a recycling pickup service, take a page out of the book of Sydney’s rubbish removal services, for e-waste. It is a very lucrative business, yet in deficit.

5. Green developer

Develop applications that will help people help the earth. These can be simple guides to local green stores, or complex energy consumption calculators.

6. Green consulting

If you are familiar with green technologies and standards, you can easily become a consultant to other businesses on ecological issues. Help other people start a green business, or turn their current business into a more environmentally friendly one. This consulting can involve anything from efficient energy consumption to sustainable production. Get certified to gain more credibility among customers.

7. Upcycle

Furniture upcycling has quite a hipster vibe. Take any piece of old, unused furniture and repurpose it in an unusual and preferably unexpected way. All you need is some tools and a few original ideas. Once you clear your attic and basement of all the unused furniture, you will find that flea markets are a great place to find new ‘raw materials’.

8. Green blogs

If you like writing, and like to work from home, start a blog. But not just any kind of blog. Start a green blog that will promote green activities.

9. Bicycle business

Bicycles are the most eco-friendly means of transport there is. They emit no gas into the atmosphere and so do not pollute the air. Buying and reselling bicycles has become a huge part of the green revolution. Consider participating in it. You can also open a small local bicycle café where you will sell drinks, while you are repairing your customers’ bicycles. Take tourists to bicycle sightseeing tours of your town, or your neighbourhood.

10. Eco-cleaning

Start a cleaning services company which will use your own natural house cleaning products. Make more money by selling these products to households and other cleaning service companies.

What green business do you see yourself managing?

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8 Professional Qualities That Can Help All Budding Entrepreneurs

Running a business successfully takes more than just making plans. It takes careful execution of the said plans and the readiness to face the outcome, whatever it may be. While no one can guarantee that your plans will lead you to success, you can be certain of the fact that every experience you gain will bring with it a lesson, irrespective of whether you succeed or not.

As a budding entrepreneur, you’re bound to feel overwhelmed at times. Rest assured, you aren’t alone in this. Running a business successfully is no mean task, especially for an amateur. It is important, however, to stay positive and continually challenge yourself to perform better.

Wondering what it takes for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to make it big in the business world? You’ve come to the right place.

Entrepreneurs Remember the Why

Break up the word ENTRE-PRE-NEUR to understand the fundamental rule of building a flourishing empire. Entrepreneurs need to figure out why they need to “ENTER” a space in the first place. Is it just the money? Or is it passion? Being passionate about your work is a skill. Have you seen anyone succeed because of plain luck and no passion? You can’t stay in business if you don’t have the will to sustain it. Entrepreneurs find out what their strengths are and work on their weaknesses. They also make sure they recruit passionate people who can egg each other on along the journey.

Entrepreneurs Do the Ground Work

“PRE” signifies “before” or “prior to.” The thumb rules are to pre-plan and pre-estimate. Entrepreneurs never work with assumptions (which lead to apprehensions). They get the facts and stats on everything that matters. They are information-oriented. They think like no one else does, which takes practise. They filter out the negatives. They serve a purpose; fill a hidden gap. Details beat presumptions every single time.

Entrepreneurs are Enterprising 24×7

Entrepreneurship is a craft and entrepreneurs are masters of this craft. They are updated about everything in their business (and that of others). They maintain a 360-degree view of the world and current trends. They seek internal and external feedback, and even hear out criticism. At the end of the day, they review their actions and priorities. Their mind is constantly fertile with words like “new,” “innovation,” and “growth.”

Ideating comes naturally to them. There’s a popular adage that talks about winners not doing too many different things, but doing regular things differently. This is what sets them apart. Entrepreneurs need to think on these lines in order to become winners. As they move from one project to another, they need to challenge existing notions and raise the bar.

Just like “NEUR,” a combining word form that means related to nerves, business acumen surely needs to run in an entrepreneur’s nerves!

Entrepreneurs are Go-Getters

Entrepreneurs trust their instincts, of course, after they have gauged the rational and calculated elements. Instincts are the feathers and perseverance the wings. They are perceptive and work with foresight. They never lose focus on why they got into it, where they stand now, and what tomorrow holds.

They compete more with improvement and excellence than with rivals. They never settle for mediocrity. They are not satisfied with temporary solutions. They ask questions, and find (or create) answers. They reinvent and rediscover.

Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for things to happen; they make things happen. They want to learn as much as they can and use that knowledge to get things done and achieve their objectives.

Entrepreneurs Value People-Power

Progressive entrepreneurs invest as much in their team as they do in assets, technology, and the other overall business areas. They get the right people to do things right. They care for their team and encourage them to excel. They don’t build a business; they build people – with whom they can in turn build a business together. They connect with all their stakeholders: clients, customers, and critics.

Entrepreneurs Manage Time

Taking accurate and time-bound decisions is vital to any business. The speed of the “boss” determines the speed of the team. Checks and balances are key words. When time tests them, they adjust. They return with a bang.

Entrepreneurs are Conscious

Successful businessmen do not hold themselves back from setting lofty goals and take on challenges that are seemingly unachievable.
Entrepreneurs know that they do not “run” but “lead,” or even “guide” a business. They safeguard it and its people. They are always ready for the best and prepared for the worst. They spearhead transformations when required. They say Yes or No prudently. In short, they know the implications of their words and actions, and are always aware of what they’re doing or saying.

Entrepreneurs are Always Cheerful

The ability to stay positive and cheerful, in the good times and the bad, is the hallmark of a successful entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is the face of his business, and its reputation depends greatly on the way he presents himself in public. Entrepreneurs establish cheer in their own and their team’s hearts. They don’t mull over losses. They are amazingly positive. They know there’s more to achieve and the world is their oyster.

Over to You

Are you a founder or a leader of a company? How many of the above traits do you share with other immensely successful entrepreneurs? Do a self-check and share your experiences with us in the comments.

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5 Effective Ways To Promote Your Home Business

For those who have made the leap into self employment, and are starting a business from home, it can be scary to know where to start. Even if you have been working at home for a while, and your business is more developed, you will still need to promote it to stay on top of your game. Promoting your home based business may seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you are working completely alone, however there are many ways you can effectively, and often simply, promote yourself and your business. We share out top 5 promotional secrets for success:

Start a blog

1. The best way of promoting your business to potential customers is to get up front and personal. Sharing your thoughts, opinions, tips, or news through blog content is the perfect way to get started. All you need is a good host, some solid tips and advice, and a unique approach to your content.

Social Media

2. Now that mobile media time is greater than desktop, using free mobile based tools like social media is a great way to reach customers. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others, are the perfect platform for sending your message to the busy butterflies this world has become. Being a social butterfly can certainly pay off in the business world. With the potential of reaching out to millions of users across the globe, social media is a no brainer.

Local Marketing

3. Local marketing is even more important now that search engines have become more advanced. Whether online off offline, it’s crucial to be advertising yourself where your customers want to find you. If you have a website, that means having your NAP (name, address, phone number) details clearly displayed and your business added to popular local directories, such as Yelp and Google Places. If you’re promoting yourself offline, you will want to take a similar approach, placing adverts in local establishments with clear contact details, and passing out business cards and flyers left right and center. Fastprint are perfect if you’re looking for quality custom leaflet flyers at low prices.

Join Local Network

4. Get involved in some local network marketing and advertising. Being famous isn’t just for celebrities and musicians. Network with local newspapers, news stations, magazines and blogs to start your journey to fame. Networking in the right circles can open up many doors, especially if you are available to offer something relevant and interesting in return. Another great way of networking is by exhibiting at trade shows and events. Just make sure you have an eye-catching exhibition stand design to attract potential contacts.


5. Everyone loves a freebie. If your business is product based, then offering giveaways and promotions online is a great way of promoting your business. It’s also a great way of enhancing your social media engagement and reach, which will subsequently result in more people becoming aware of your products or services. Offering samples is another great way of promoting your products. Reach out to some influential bloggers or journalists in your area or niche, and offer sample products to test. Not only are you generating more awareness for your business, but you may also get a mention or some press of the back of it. Win win.

There are plenty of ways that you can promote your home business, and these are only just a few. It is not an easy task making ends meet through self-employment, but there is a good chance that if you follow the advice from this article, and use it to inspire you to try out other ways of promoting your business, you can succeed.

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Climate launchpad, secret seeds and the road to Amsterdam

Climate launchpad

I got the invitation to attend the Climate Launchpad bootcamp just as a work contract was finishing, the timing was perfect. I had toyed with the idea of working for myself for some time and this bootcamp and coaching seemed like something that would help me on my way. The bootcamp and mentoring sessions over 2 months leading up to the National Finals at the Climate Gathering were tough and interesting and really helped me formulate my concept.

National finals in Dublin

The eight businesses involved were so different but with a common goal in finding a climate friendly business solution that allows them to make a living. We were put through our paces weekly and presented at the National Finals on June 22nd. The eight presentations were very unique to each other and had come a long way from the initial bootcamp.

This was my pitch:

Climate Launchpad International finals in Amsterdam

I was really delighted to be selected in the top three and go forward to represent Ireland in the finals in Amsterdam. However this is where things got real, 28 countries, 84 contestants and all competing for 10 places on an accelerator programme and the top three will get cash prizes. The number of contestants is daunting but the variation in ideas is fascinating, with a common theme and ideal surrounding climate each team has developed very different concepts. I am a mix of nerves and excitement bringing Secret Seeds to the finals in Amsterdam.

Secret seeds

Secret Seeds are heart shaped seedbombs that are full of wildflower seeds. While they look small their impact is large. By using Secret Seeds instead of buying flowers you promote growing your own, you provide food for bees (who are vital for our own survival) and by choosing to buy Secret Seeds instead of cut flowers you reduce the transport emissions, virtual water and even human rights conditions associated with flower farms which are based in the developing world.

Change the world one seed at a time

I am looking forward to meeting the other contestants, hearing their pitch but I am more excited about presenting my business to the judges and showing them that Secret Seeds can change the world one seed at a time.



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The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Time Management

Being your own boss can be a challenge sometimes. You need to work efficiently, yet have the ability to deal with those unforeseen circumstances that always crop up. A balance has to be struck between time spent, efficiency and quality of output. And information has to be managed in a way that makes it both accessible and useful.

Here are five valuable tips from the experts to help manage your time successfully:

1. Give your work day structure by dividing it into a series of concrete tasks.
2. Make a reasonable estimate of how much time is needed for each task and stick to the routine.
3. Keep clear, easily accessible records of each day’s work.
4. Modify and test your daily goals and tweak them to keep up with your changing business.
5. Add padding to deadlines, building in the flexibility to deal with unexpected situations as they arise.

As a self-directed business owner, you are probably adept at seeing the “big picture.” But it’s necessary to look at your business through a closer lens sometimes. Being organized means having the ability to compartmentalize. What is the first thing you do each day? Start there and outline the sequence of actions you take in the course of the day. In your outline, give important tasks the time and attention that they require while also making room for less pressing jobs.

Since human beings are creatures of habit, having a workflow plan helps streamline your day. Setting aside an appropriate amount of time for each task lets you focus on those facets of the working day that are most crucial to revenue. It also helps prevent the problem of getting stuck in one area of the process while neglecting others. Strikingly, one quarter of all small business owners in one survey believe that each hour they work is worth almost $500 in profits. This makes time management an essential part of any business plan.

Having quick and targeted access to information about your business is invaluable. That’s why record keeping is so important. In this computerized age, businesses no longer have to drown in paperwork, but can organize information into digital files that are easy to access.


Consider your hard drive to be a digital filing cabinet. Separate different functions, tasks and data into their own folders and don’t be afraid to create subcategories. The more organized the information is, the faster you will find what you’re looking for.

This is where a good software program can be invaluable. Not everyone is adept at data management and there are programs that not only keep records, but give instant snapshots of the results of your efforts. Nothing is static in the business world, and daily tasks should be continually evaluated to make sure that they are still in step with the goals of the business. Modification and testing, especially with the aid of a top notch virtual assistant, will aid in time management and realization of goals.

As you have probably figured out by now, the tasks you set yourself are not always linear, and sometimes going back to a previous step is unavoidable. Adding extra time to estimates for completing assignments is an effective coping strategy. This gives you the flexibility to step outside the box (or schedule) and deal with contingencies as they arise. If deadlines end up being met ahead of time, that will only make you look good!

The future is bright for entrepreneurs. U.S. census data shows that small businesses have continued to produce the majority of new jobs in the past two decades. The use of data management tools is one of the ways that entrepreneurs can continue to thrive in our economy. Using these five tips as a starting point, running your own business can be an exciting and successful challenge!


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Sun Life Enterprise & Innovation Awards

Sun Life Financial has worked alongside Waterford Institute of Technology to promote enterprise and innovation among Computing students and this was never more evident than at the fourth annual Sun Life Enterprise & Innovation Awards.

Two outstanding students picked up the annual awards. The Innovation Award for a project that demonstrated uniqueness went to Sophie Renshaw from Charleville, Co Cork for her project ‘Deploying Openstack on Small Scale Architecture’.

The Enterprise Award for a project that demonstrated commercial potential went to Samuel Haycock from Clonmel, Co Tipperary for his QRLang project, allowing for complete games to be coded into a QR code.

Competition for the two awards was fierce with 20 projects submitted from a pool of final year honours undergraduate projects. Ten finalists invited to showcase their projects at an exhibition at Sun Life’s newly refurbished office in Waterford.

Following the exhibition, David Healy, Senior Vice President Client and Technology Services, SLF, United States, presented Sophie and Samuel each with a prize of €1,000.

Commenting at the ceremony, David Healy said, “The level of innovation and application of technology I have seen here today is outstanding and it’s only through innovation and idea generation that the global economy will continue to grow. It is really important for Sun Life to maintain and develop our links w  ith colleges such as WIT. I would like to congratulate WIT for the quality of students and projects we have seen here today and reiterate our commitment to nurture this type of innovation at the Institute. I’m looking forward to being part of this event again next year.”

Professor Willie Donnelly, President of WIT and founder of the globally renowned ICT research centre TSSG congratulated Sun Life on its courageous decision to set up in Waterford 16 years ago which has had immeasurable benefits for the city and the wider south east.

Prof Donnelly went on to say that “the institute and Sun Life have forged a deep relationship founded on strong synergies and mutual goals. Our two organisations have collaborated on multiple levels over the years at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Masters in Communications developed collectively by WIT and Sun Life defines the industry-academic collaboration at the heart of what a technological university is about. At the centre of the programme is the concept of academic responsiveness building on the institute’s excellence in teaching and research to deliver regional economic impact.”

Karen Burns, General Manager Sun Life Waterford remarked on the standard and quality of the projects as ‘outstanding’.

Outside of these awards, Sun Life has a long standing relationship with the institute with 60% of the workforce having studied on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at some point in their career.

The successful finalists were: Samuel Haycock, Sophie Renshaw, Tony Finn, Stephen Long, Jamie Hegarty, David Ryan, Jamie Moore, Daniel Treyvaud, Eamonn Ryan and Seán Bray.

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Calling all Innovators & Entrepreneurs, we need your help & your green VOTE !!

As with any Irish technology company, we all suffer unique challenges when growing business internationally. As a country we have a small population so we struggle when trying to make as much noise as our International competitors. Even places we assume are tiny states such as Haiti & Togo have twice and three times our population.

Hence we need your help…

One of our company’s, Surface Power HONE which has developed a revolutionary “daylight” powered Nano-heat engine technology is short-listed (final 18 was judged by experts) for the 2Degrees Champions Award –  “Innovation of the Year” which is the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 46,500 members from 177 countries. https://www.2degreesnetwork.com/

Surface Power HONE has nearly 7,000 installations of this patented technology over 8 countries to date and it has been kept fairly secretive until recently. The technology was field tested in the West of Ireland & New Zealand as the daylight levels are some of the lowest in the OECD. In short, it replaces the use of oil and gas for heating and cooling with free daylight. Have a look at LIVE customers on our website such as the UK National Health Service running their hospital’s central heating on free “daylight” (sounds mad but true !!)

The next phase of the 2Degrees “Innovation of the Year Awards” is a voting stage which will reduce the final 18 to 5 for the big awards ceremony and we need your help and your vote. 

Although already in the short-list of 18, we are the only Irish Technology company in this shortlist and are up against huge players such as Nestle, General Motors & B&Q.

You can vote for us by clicking the link below to get us into the final 5 and we thank you in advance for that vote. Be sure to tweet it afterwards using the link so we can personally send you a thank you tweet. Go raibh maith agat as do chabhair.

Best Regards, John Quinn, CEO. (Twitter – @johnquinn_irl )

Read our story and VOTE from below.


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