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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Early bird tickets for Social Media Summit

We are proud to be part of the Social Media Summit.

Dublin City Council

Also supported by International Relations in Dublin City Council, the event will be an important global gathering of key influencers, leaders, investors and creators within the global social media community. There are already whispers about this being the alternative to the Web Summit and they have promised to stay.

50% early bird discount

Early bird tickets at 50% of ticket price are still available, but are moving fast. You can get your ticket here before it is too late.

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Worst Social Media Mistakes

With the world we live in today becoming so reliant on online outlets, businesses need to make the most of their presence on social media. However, always remember to be careful not to misrepresent your image while using those social platforms. Read on for some tips to avoid making the worst social media mistakes.

Many social media pages are built to engage with people and build a decent depiction of your company, product or name. While many have wildly successful media operations set up, others have failed for various reasons.

We’ve seen it time and time again.

Avoid that misconception by reading just how a blunder can influence your media pages, and the most common mistakes that you can avoid.

Top Social Media Mistakes you Shouldn’t Make

Too many words. Stick to your point. Followers aren’t reading your feed to spend five minutes scrolling down a post with too many commas.

Using words you don’t understand. DiGiorno’s mistakenly used a trending hashtag to their marketing advantage on Twitter in 2014 to promote their pizza. #WhyIStayed was trending in opposition to domestic violence, and DiGiorno’s got quite the reprimand from its misuse.

Not keeping a focus. Just as your word count should be limited, be sure to keep the concentration on your topic.

Over-posting. Once you find your rhythm of posting, stick to it, if it is working well with your audience. Over-doing the frequency of updates could negatively impact your strategy.

Being a ‘Debby Downer’. Positivity spread from your social media manager is essential to the continued support of your company, and just good customer service.

A shortage of media. Balance the ratio between images, video content and plain text. You need to keep people engaged while reading your feed, but not overwhelmed with too much text.

Bringing in politics. If it doesn’t support the nature of your company, or bring guaranteed positive responses from your followers, then it isn’t worth the risk.

Not engaging in conversations. You’re on social media for a purpose. How can that purpose be achieved without maximizing opportunities to use your expertise? Communicate with the people in your network.

Pay attention to the responses from the users you are trying to engage with and use them to restructure your strategy, if needed. They will be your best source in the changing market.

Deleting comments that are inconvenient. If the comments are inappropriate or hinder your strategy or image as a company, by all means you withhold the right to remove them.

If the comments are not rightfully lewd, and the operator of the media page just doesn’t want to deal with the ‘hassle’ of handling the situation, then you have a problem.

Your presence on social media is contingent on responses you give to your followers, or any commentor. Don’t let an honest answer hurt your name; let your honesty speak for your reliability and morality.

Posting controversial topics. Why bother? Everyone is a heckler on social media. It’s unavoidable, but it is somewhat controllable.

Any hot topic is likely to get publicity over media, but if it is irrelevant to your intention and purpose of being on social media then avoid it. We all know what happened with Adam Goodes; why contribute where it may not be needed?

Lack of context. It doesn’t matter what you say if the context of what you’re saying isn’t connected in an appropriate way. Context is key. Isn’t it?

Lack of content. Amnesty International Australia used Tinder to launch a campaign to raise awareness for women in forced marriages. As a sensitive topic, presenting their ideas without an effective strategy in place would be useless.

In the case of Amnesty International, thousands of people clicked the link provided; their mission was successful due to the compelling content successfully integrated in their advertisement.

Not staying informed. With technology changing just as fast as world events happening, this is essential to executing a successful social media strategy.

Just as Nike had to revoke a t-shirt design after its significance shifted. The t-shirt started as a competitive baseball rivalry between New York and Boston, and quickly changed to an image that misrepresented the horrific scene in Boston in April 2013.

Nike had to react quickly. Once the directive dialogue over social media began, they immediately removed all t-shirts from their shelves.

No filters. We’re not talking about Instagram filters here but with regard to a chain of command.

Bloomingdale’s recent ad sparked major controversy and is now being referred to as a “date rape ad”.

How could such an inappropriate ad, which completely misconveys an acceptable public opinion on rape culture, pass through several stages of approval?

Dozens of people had to have seen this advertisement before it was released; Bloomingdale’s is no small business. Once it was published, the backlash began.

You can avoid this by refining your editing process: checks and balances.

Generating automated responses. This can backfire, and backfire quickly. In addition to installing checkpoints for potential media content, ensure that if you are using an automated response system always be aware of what is posted.

Forgetting to filter the extra noise. Stick to your strategy and your purpose of using social media services and get rid of the distractions. This will help with your time management in addition to increasing efficiency.

Rid your news feed and/or Twitter feed of pointless conversations. Fill those spaces with constructive outlets that will be beneficial to you, and will make your sites easier to manage.

Final Thoughts

Some mistakes are excusable, while others take a lot of time and money to fix. Take caution in what you post and remember to use the resources easily available to you. Including getting a second opinion on content, and making sure you stay caught up with current events.

Overall, social media services should hold the capability of making you more successful if used properly. Take advantage of the opportunities it provides and don’t waste time making mindless errors that are avoidable.

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Mobile Consumers and Responsive Designs: Online, Smart & Friendly

Social media is changing the world of marketing on a tremendous scale. According to ZenithOptimedia forecast, we will witness a constant 15% growth on an annual scale between 2014 and 2017. Let’s take a look at how it applies to mobile consumers…

This assumption is more than reasonable. We are witnessing applied actions of smart algorithms that are interacting with us on a daily basis. They are persistent in following profiles and are sorting and delivering information according to our search results in a matter of a few nanoseconds. Our Facebook profiles, Google search, everything is monitored and evaluated, for the purpose to serve us, the consumers, or annoy us.

That is the very core of our issue, because in the year 2015 there are a few actions that should be considered a standard, nevertheless we are still witnessing poor implementations of even major global companies.


A seamlessly never-ending debate about Conversion Rate Optimization vs. Search Engine Optimization for Return On Investment only confirms that we are yet to comprehend the power of Data. The obvious fact is that constant analysis through applied implementation will eventually deliver a positive result.

You’ve certainly stumbled upon opening windows that are trying to convince you to stay on the website and continue with your read. That is a part of the CRO strategy. The fact that you’ve actually managed to find the initial website is the result of the SEO strategy. They are both well proven methods, and we are all aware that the psychology of marketing is based on the firm but almost incomprehensible grounds, and there is one factor that will always be easily misread: the human factor.

Never leave out that tricky unknown from the equation, and always add at least something that you know to that part, so you can be sure that you will gain positive results. Consumers love being respected, cared for, they will probably refer their friends to you if you insist on providing a good service and you should count on that fact. Make their online experience pleasant, provide them a great product, trusted delivery, and safe and simple method of payment. Scratch beneath that surface of design, and focus on being responsive.

Smart & Friendly

All of our target audiences, no matter the industry that you are dealing with, have one thing in common: they are all computer literate. Pushing a product where it shouldn’t be pushed, missing your core audience, and counting on the fact that you will simply filter large numbers and get a certain percentage that you will convert to clients – that’s an utterly outdated technique.

Always count on the first rule of social media: it is social. People will share ideas, experiences, reviews, and etc. If you insist on spamming million people with your offer for no particular reason, the only thing that you will get is a lot of bad rep. There is a famous case of LiveNation poorly scheduled tweets that should serve in favor of this module, as an example of how not to execute a campaign.

With the help of search engines and our smart phones, we, the consumers, have become a lot smarter. Well, in manner of speaking. Retweeting your embarrassing marketing failure is a matter of one flick of a finger, so think again who you are targeting. If you are targeting me, as a computer literate consumer, I can tell you two things that I’m expecting from your business – be smart, and be friendly.

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5 Innovative Social Media Tips to Grow Your E-Commerce Business

A report by Hubspot shows 365% growth of social media use in the past 7 years. Not only this is an astonishing figure, but also shows the vast number of customers that online businesses can attract. In another report, it showed that more than 70% people on social media prefer to make purchases online. This shows how the world is transitioning from a physical platform (real stores) to a digital platform for shopping and this is mainly due to the increased online presence on social media. But as innovative the social media platform is, business owners must also think of innovative ideas to attract more and more buyers and eventually turn their businesses into brands. Here are a few tips to attract the customer’s attention on social media and help grow your e-commerce business.

1. Grow Your E-Commerce Business with User Generated Content

The best way to engage your customers or clients is by encouraging user generated content. It provides a platform to your customers to showcase their creativity but also helps you promote your brand. So ensure that your e commerce platforms are equipped with social media tools that promote customer engagement. You can also look for the best e commerce platforms on websites like FinestShops and others. Guest post by select customers, photography contests and any campaigns that feature your customers not only increases their interest but will also ensure their loyalty. Maintaining goodwill is one of the most prime aspects of a business and promoting the customers is a great way of establishing yourself as a brand.

2. Inspirational Quotes

Promoting your products through an inspirational quote can be really effective if served in the right manner. In a recent study it was found that inspirational quotes by famous personalities get a 19% boost in shares on various social media platforms like twitter and Facebook. Any quote that is funny, motivational or educational is increasingly shared by social media users creating a great area for marketing. One of the great examples of this is the Never Settle Campaign by clothing brand Ugmonk that was coupled with an inspirational Quote from Steve Jobs. This not only allowed people to share their product on social media but also worked on an inspirational level rather than a promotional one.

3. Video Campaign about Upcoming Products

We all know that watching a video is more engaging than reading and hence it is also important to include a video campaign to promote your business. We are pretty familiar with video ads through the popular modes of entertainment like radio and television. As the world has moved on to the digital platform through the internet, the need for audio visual content still remains. A sneak preview video of your upcoming products not only creates more curiosity in the customers but also keeps them engaged about the product launch. Nevertheless, this should be served in an innovative manner and should not appear as a direct advertisement.

4. A Little Self Promotion Doesn’t Hurt

While the internet world hates people who brag, adding a bit of humor and cheekiness can work wonders. Showing some personality while making a self promoting statement helps the customers identify your business as an entity and not just a company. Try to have fun when trying to tell people why your brand is the best, instead of taking a more direct or serious approach.

5. Using Trending Content to Your Advantage

Using the current events to your advantage might be considered as a cheap trick for most businesses. But when done ethically, an ad campaign bundled with trending content can work wonders for your online business. Coupling your products with a trending hashtag on twitter can significantly improve your viewership. It not only promotes your products but also helps you engage in different conversations that were started by other brands or celebrities.

Not only social media emerged as a boon to the people across the world but has also opened several opportunities of business and created a whole new market. Hence, the owners of the online business must always think ‘outside the box’ to attract and engage more and more customers. The above tips can be implemented for most business that operate online and can certainly attract more customers and media attention.

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6 Recruiting Strategies You Should Be Paying Attention To

Recruiters need to have a host of techniques and life skills to bring in the best candidates out of a pool of thousands. Being a recruiter requires a pro-active approach to seeking out and finding the best talent in your industry. While employment applications are a good place to start, some of the best talent isn’t looking for your company. They already have jobs they are happy with, and it’s your responsibility to convince them that taking a chance on your company is worth the risk. Let’s look at some key recruiting strategies that are gaining in popularity.

1. Recruiting Strategies – Getting Referrals

Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find new recruits. Asking for referrals from people you trust and respect can help you find hidden talent. Recruiters that ask for referrals are much more likely to locate qualified candidates with a good work ethic. Referrals can be found by talking to other people at work, looking for recommendations on social media and talking with old teachers, colleagues and friends. A good referral program is still the number one source of leads, and for good reason since they generally result in reliable and dependable employees. If someone is willing to stick their neck out for another person, it means there is something to that person.

2. The Shortlist

Make a short list of the top candidates for the position you’re trying to fill. When a candidate flat out refuses to join your company, keep them on the list and follow up every six months to a year. In the meantime, ask them if there are any candidates they would recommend since it’s obvious they aren’t going to come aboard. This tells the candidate that you value their opinion, and it just might introduce you to another qualified candidate. Constantly update your short list, and don’t be afraid to completely scrap a list that doesn’t meet the goals of the company and start over.

3. Use Glassdoor

Glassdoor helps employees connect with recruiters, and locate jobs that they will love. Reviews of companies are available at Glassdoor, and this can help an employee narrow down the options when it comes to looking for the next job. Users can search through a list of jobs, reviews, companies, salaries and interviews. All of this data makes it easier to find recruits and evaluate a company before a candidate applies for a job.

If your employees aren’t using Glassdoor, encourage them to do so to help get the word out about your company. A few reviews will go a long way toward helping you recruit new talent in your industry. They are also a fantastic way to measure your current employees’ trust in the CEO or upper management (for example, check out the difference between Nu Skin’s rating and that of Zappos.)

4. Use Social Media

Social media is a great way to recruit potential candidates. Using a Facebook account, you can search for users that match the interest and qualifications you’re looking for. While many Facebook users won’t make this kind of information about themselves public, there are a vast number of profiles that do. This is especially true with LinkedIn users who might provide more information since that site is specifically tailored toward business professionals.

Twitter users pose more of a challenge, but you can quickly sort through filters and find the most prominent users for any given field to increase your short list. Take advantage of the leverage that social networks provide in the recruiting process, and connect with users when it’s most convenient for them. Create a social media page for the company and list any job offerings that are available as well. This helps let other people find you by searching for their interests.

5. Host Meetups

Recruiters that host or sponsor a Meetup generally have good results with new recruits. When you participate in a Meetup, you gather a group of like-minded individuals who are there for the sole purpose of learning about your company. The Meetup can be casual and provide recruits with a relaxed, friendly environment where they can ask questions and learn more about your company. Some of the most successful recruiting strategies involve a Meetup at some stage of the recruiting process. It’s a great way to get all the candidates together and see how they react in a social setting.

6. Visit Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities are a great way to find young candidates with an excitement and zeal to change the world. Recent college graduates make up for a lack of experience with tremendous energy, and a desire to do well in their first post-college job. Setting up a booth during the opening week of classes, walking around during lunch time and meeting students in their departments are all great ways to locate prospects and build your short list. Colleges and universities are great places to meet potential employees that want to work hard and do a good job.

Work hard on your recruiting strategies, and focus on developing one new strategy each week. By focusing your efforts, you can be more productive and find the right talent and skill-sets needed for your company to succeed. Attempt to do everything at once, and you’re likely to get overwhelmed and be less productive in your recruiting goals. Take some time each day to reflect on what you want to accomplish, and then devote all of your energy and resources toward achieving that one goal.

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Four Essential Ways for Small Businesses to Boost Sales through Digital Marketing

When it comes to increasing sales, nothing can compare to the power of the internet. Whether you have a local place of business or an online global presence, there is no better way to reach millions of people, literally overnight. Small businesses looking to boost sales should really investigate how to accomplish that through digital marketing. Here are four essential ways for small businesses to boost sales through digital marketing.

1) Go Mobile

Recent statistics indicate that more people shop from their mobile devices than they do from their home PCs. In fact, it is such a huge portion of the market that Google even changed their algorithms to better serve mobile searchers. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, now is the time to act. Make sure your online marketing is mobile friendly. Not only will you rank better with the search giant, but you will reach a significant portion of your market that you would have otherwise missed out on.

2) Online Discounts & Vouchers

Another great way to boost sales online through digital marketing is to advertise great savings with online discounts and vouchers not available at physical locations. People love a bargain and when they feel like they are getting a product at a saving they wouldn’t get at their local retailer, they will jump on the chance to save money. You can even find out which discounts and vouchers to offer with online tools that show in real time UK retail spending trends. This is perhaps the best way to boost sales based on buying trends.

3) Social Media

It has become almost cliché to hear marketers saying “We are social creatures.” But, in reality, that is exactly what we are. Marketing experts tell us that people will spend more money with someone they trust than from some unknown person or entity. In other words, they aren’t really spending money as much on your product as they are on you. If they trust you after having built a relationship through social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) they may even pay more for your goods than they would at another shop. Why? Again, the trust factor. Social media is great for establishing trust and if you don’t employ this as part of your digital marketing, you are losing a huge portion of the buying public.

4) Pictures, Videos and Infographics

Finally, people want to see what they are buying. Use pictures, videos and infographics to display products and to show why a consumer should buy them. Many innovative ecommerce sites have gone to 360 panoramic views of products so that viewers can see all sides in one shot. This is especially important in the fashion industry as the shopper can see both the front and the back of a garment as opposed to a stock shot of that item in a box.

Again, whether you are looking to build foot traffic in a physical location or to increase online sales, there is nothing like the broad and rapid reach of the information superhighway, the internet. Use these four essential ways to boost sales and you will see just how quickly digital marketing campaigns can make a difference.

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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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