What you need to know about building your own personal business from the ground up.


Improving the Human Condition Through Entrepreneurship

A month or so ago I gained the opportunity to intern with Venture Capital as a photographer.  I will be helping to create a magazine that's all about entrepreneurship that will be called Social Capital Magazine.  Venture Capital is a company that helps people who are new entrepreneurs to gain the funding necessary for being an entrepreneur and starting their own business.  What they do is fantastic. 

To see their website and to find out more about who they are and what they do, visit www.venturecapital.org. 


My thoughts on entrepreneurship...

I have thought a lot about entrepreneurship in the recent past, which is what inspired me to do my blog on this topic.  I am coming up on my final year at the University of Utah, which is why I have spent a lot of time contemplating where I am going to head once I graduate.  I have spent my last few years working on my BA in Mass Communication, emphasizing in journalism.  It has given me a lot of ideas about how I can start my own company, be my own boss and do something that I truly love.
            Journalists have many opportunities to become entrepreneurs, as does anyone with a communications degree.  Mass communication degrees have far more opportunities with entrepreneurship than most other degrees in my opinion.  Writers can write their own books, start their own publication business, become a professional blogger or start their own newspaper.  Communication degrees can start their own advertising companies or start their own photo-shooting business.  These are just a few of the opportunities that can be done by someone with a communication degree.  There possibilities are as far as your mind will take you, because media and communication is everywhere and continues to grow, expand and advance every day.
            So how do I feel about entrepreneurship?  The idea makes me a little nervous, but I think it is a fantastic thing.  It takes a lot of patience, dedication and motivation for someone to start from the ground up to build a business.  There are so many challenges that could be faced along the way, and seeing other people that I know overcome their challenges and achieve success has definitely inspired me and given me a new appreciation for entrepreneurs. 
            When I think of a successful entrepreneur, I think of it as being one overall thing- rewarding.  It would feel so good to know that you started out with a simple idea and then were able to take all of the steps necessary to turn it into a real thing.  To see a large amount of profit and success pouring into your business would be even more rewarding.  And best of all, it would be through doing something that you love.  That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship- when you are starting your own business, you can center it around what you are really interested in.  So many people in this world spend their day-to-day lives going to a job that they feel no sense of passion for.  What a waste of time and life. 
            The major speed bumps that I can foresee any entrepreneur would face is time and money.  Starting your own business would take a lot of patience because it takes an immense amount of time to not only get the word out about your business, but to get it flowing smoothly so that everything becomes routine.  The overall goal is to build up a business that can function if you take a day off.  Also, it takes money to earn money.  A financial investment is necessary in virtually all entrepreneur businesses.  You have to buy your equipment needed and pay for the advertising to get the ball rolling.  This is why only people with a lot of patience and focus should attempt entrepreneurship.  Eventually your free time will re-appear again, and if you are successful, you will begin to make an income off of your business- preferably a very large income. 
            I don’t know how long it’ll take me to become an entrepreneur.  I will more than likely get a job with something relating to my major after I graduate.  It will be to give me extra experience and to give me the funding I need to start a business of my own someday.  I would absolutely love to have my own photography business someday.  Whatever I end up doing, it will be something I thoroughly enjoy.  I will create opportunities for myself, as well as create opportunities for people who share my same interests and wish to work with me. 


An Interview With a Real Life Entrepreneur #2- Patricia Beckman

Q:  Could you share your background prior to starting your business?
A:  Prior to starting Cybertary, I spent more than 20 years in finance management, working in senior level positions for companies such as Nolte Associates and Hewlett-Packard (HP). I decided to leave my position when I realized that my high-demand job had made me out of touch with my family.

Q:  When did you establish Cybertary?
A:  I launched Cybertary on November 1, 2005 with a business plan that was based on a client base of 5-7 active, recurring clients that I would manage myself. Surprisingly, I gained five clients my first week in business and then continued to gain 5-7 new client leads each following week.

I found that I needed to add at least one team member per month to keep up with the client demand. I discovered that due to the branding, website and marketing materials I had created, people presumed Cybertary was a franchise and that we were a large national company. They started to ask me where I heard about the company and how they could launch their own Cybertary business. We began receiving huge volumes of resumes every week from moms who wanted to join the team, and from clients who wanted our services…but I was at maximum capacity and could not manage the workload for that many clients and team members independently.
After a while, I took the hint and decided to turn the Cybertary business model into a franchise opportunity. This way, we could continue to meet the growing client demand and provide more opportunities for moms, disabled, and caregivers to work from home at a professional wage. We set-up the franchise model so that franchisees can also outsource work to each other, based on the client’s needs and skill levels of team members, so that we are each individually doing what we do best. Now, people can own their Cybertary business, add their own teams and service their own client base using the Cybertary branding and infrastructure.  
We launched the franchise opportunity in April 2007, and now have more than 20 active franchisees throughout the United States, including two Regional Developers. Cybertary has grown into a network of professional Virtual Assistants, primarily served by stay-at-home moms, who assist small businesses and entrepreneurs who have realized they can’t “do it all” and have balance. Cybertary also gives enterprising stay-at-home moms, or dads, the opportunity to utilize their professional skills and find work/life balance.

Q:  How did you come up with the idea to start this business?
A:  After looking at a variety of home-based business ideas, I stumbled upon virtual assisting. I knew that many small businesses needed help but couldn’t afford to hire on-site or temporary workers and that many skilled professionals were losing their jobs. I decided to help both small businesses and professionals by creating Cybertary, which is a coined term…like a secretary in cyberspace.

Q: What were your main lifestyle and business goals when you established Cybertary?
A:  I wanted to start a business that I could grow, one that would allow me to travel less and spend more time with my family. Cybertary has allowed me to achieve this. I’m now more involved in my daughters’ lives and not watching it from the sidelines. 

Truthfully, some days feel a bit more “balanced” than others. To a certain extent, work/life balance is more about strategic integration and conscious choices. The key is to integrate work into your life, as opposed to the other way around, by aligning your behaviors with your priorities. This is a lesson that my girls taught me.
What also helps me is to keep a fairly rigid schedule, including calendaring things like laundry, breaks and exercise time. I calendar when I will respond to emails and when I will return voice messages. I schedule time to work on projects so that I am continuously evolving and building on our business model for the franchisees’ benefit. Keeping such a regimented schedule allows me to ensure that I make progress every day to improve the business, and don’t get stuck in auto-pilot or neglect my first priority – my family.  

Q:  How has the business evolved since you started it?
A:  Because the Cybertary business has seen success fairly quickly, I get a lot of questions from new entrepreneurs like, "How did you do it?" or "What's your secret to success?" At first, I found myself stammering a little for an answer that felt authentic. It's not that I had any doubt about the hard work I had put into the business, it's just that there was this critical bit of "magic" that happened along the way as well - and both have been instrumental in Cybertary's success.

There have been three different phases in Cybertary’s growth. Initially the vision was pretty small. I just wanted to be at home with my family and work independently. Then as the demand for Cybertary exceeded my personal capacity and clients continued to ask me to do things that were outside of my personal fortes, the vision and mission were realigned to include a team of Cybertaries with a varied array of expertise. After we had been in business for a few months and news was getting around about Cybertary, people started to look at my marketing materials and website and presume Cybertary was a franchise. When I told them that I founded it myself, their eyes got big and then they would ask if I had ever considered franchising.  After hearing that multiple times, the potential for Cybertary truly revealed itself. I started interviewing franchising consultants to take my small business national. 
Our current vision is to grow to be the industry leader for Virtual Assistance, setting the highest quality and customer service standards for our Cybertary teams as well as the industry as a whole. We are building a national presence and highly regarded name recognition in the business community by establishing multiple collaborative and cohesive teams of Virtual Assistants. Together, with their complimentary skill sets, Cybertaries can commit to excellence while meeting the broad range of administrative needs of the small business owner.

Q:  What skills do people need to become franchisees?
A:  * Five years experience in a professional or corporate environment. Experience in business development, project management or team management a plus. 

* The availability and interest to develop their business full time.
* Ability to manage, develop and self-start projects. 
* An outgoing personality and extraordinary people skills. 
* Proficiency in Microsoft Office with overall technological savvy. 
* Excellent verbal and written communication skills 
* The ability and desire to follow an established and proven business system

Q:  What were the most difficult challenges you faced as your business began to grow?
A:  The best part about making a mistake is that it means you've learned something you can apply the next time around. Mistakes make you smarter, as long as you learn from them, and they're critical in the art of running a successful business. I made a mistake, well, actually two mistakes with the Cybertary.com website. The first "low bid" version of our site required an external consultant for website maintenance who, in turn, had an excruciatingly slow response time. The second version would not integrate with our internal database. We are now on our third complete overhaul of the Cybertary.com website after realizing that we needed a structure that was easier to maintain ourselves and that seamlessly integrates with our Intranet to expand as our business grows. This was a very expensive and time-consuming lesson. However, we have learned quite a bit about website options and structures beyond the HTML basics, which have opened doors for other billable Cybertary services. Even if a mistake seems devastating when it happens, odds are it can serve as a wonderful and maybe even prosperous opportunity down the line. Live and learn. It's the only way to get wiser.

Q:  What advice would you give a person interested in starting a business and creating their own franchise?
A:  Many people overly romanticize the concept of becoming franchisors and don’t truly understand what it takes. It takes a lot of time to get a plan in place, to create documentation and plow through legal requirements. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, and won’t make you a millionaire overnight.

Find a franchise consultant who will help cost your business out, create appropriate pro forma, and evaluate the marketplace to make sure the concept is a good one to franchise.
Many people never sell even one franchise. It takes patience and persistence. Make sure you’re ready to market your brand, make connections within the franchise industry, and fully understand what it takes to be successful.

Q:  What are your plans for the future?
A:  We plan on expanding Cybertary throughout the United States into several key markets, including California’s Bay Area, Seattle, Chicago and throughout Texas.

When I started working toward the Cybertary dream a couple years ago, I had no idea all the places it would take me. To some it might seem a bit "chaotic," but I like to think of it as being open to the bigger dream and to the magic that we get to experience sometimes when we follow our hearts. I planned well and worked really hard. I took all the necessary steps to build a substantial business opportunity for others and myself. I took chances. I made mistakes. But I stayed on course, and I stayed true to my vision. I got really well prepared and then...then I got a little lucky too. So what's my secret? Work hard. Prepare hard. Let go. Let grow. And then, be ready when the magic happens!

To learn more about Cybertary, you can visit their website at http://www.cybertaryfranchise.com/the-cybertary-company.


An Interview with a Real Life Entrepreneur: Justin Newbold

Q: To start with, can you tell me a bit about yourself?  How old are you, what are your personal interests, etc?
A:  I am Justin Newbold and I am 31 Years old.  I live in Clearfield, Utah and I spend most of my spare time with my 3 kids Madison, Savannah and Ayden, and also my girlfriend, Aimee.
Q:  Tell me about your company.  What is it all about?
A:  iRev Motors  is a car dealership.  We go to auctions and buy cars, and then we sell them to customers.  If we cant sell them, we send them back to the auctions, usually at a loss.
Q:  What made you decide to start this company to begin with?
A:  I have always liked cars and always thought it would be fun to have a car dealership.

Q:  Had you or have you ever considered being an entrepreneur in a different area other than what you’re doing now?
A:  Yes.  I have also wanted to get into building iOS apps for Apple products or developing devices that work with Apple products.

Q:   Where did you work before what you’re doing now?  How did working there lead up to what you are currently doing now?
A:  I used to work for KFC.  It helped me get the money to start up my business and it also helped push me to do this because the company changed their values and stopped caring about the people that were running there company for them.
Q:  What have been your biggest struggles in being an entrepreneur? 
A:  My biggest struggles have been dealing with all the aspects of running a business that I have never dealt with before- mostly with taxes, payroll and accounting.  Most companies have people that do all of this for them and they dont need to worry about it, so getting all this set up and staying on top of it has been a huge struggle.
Q:  Are there any mistakes that you’ve made as an entrepreneur that you would advise future entrepreneurs to steer clear of?
A:  I have made many mistakes, but I would say to make sure you know what you are doing and why you are doing it.  I wanted to get into the car dealership because I liked cars.  I didn't really think about how hard it was going to be to get it all started and how much work it was going to actually be.

Q:  What are your major goals and plans for the future?
A:  I want to get the car dealership running smoother so I don't always have to be there.  My goal is to own businesses that I can run from anywhere that are low maintenance and high profit.
Q:  What are the major challenges when it comes to communicating with the world to get the word out about your company?
A:  It is very expensive and time consuming to advertise your business.  Its also hard to know where the best places to advertise are.  We have chosen the internet and Facebook as it is the cheapest place to advertise to reach more people.
Q:  Do you ever have to deal with negative publicity?  If so, how do you handle it?
A:  Car dealers have one of the worst reputations around, so yes, we do get negative publicity.  We deal with it by showing people we are not like other car dealers and we are not trying to screw people over just to make a buck.  It's hard when you are trying to give a customer the best deal possible and they still wanna beat you up over the price of the car.

Q:  How important is online networking and media to your company?  How do you personally use it as a tool to promote your business?
A:  I think it is crucial.  Most of our leads come from online networking.  We post our cars on our website, online classifieds and Facebook, it is the easiest, least expensive way to advertise what we are selling.

Q:  Is there anything else you would like to add?  Any thoughts, experiences or pointers you'd like to share with entrepreneurs?
A:  First, I wouldn't recommend the car business to anyone.  It is a brutal business.  Most people think that we are stealing cars at auctions for prices that are half of what we sell them for and that is the furthest from the truth.  Most of the cars at the auctions are cars that have problems so it's very hard to find good cars, and sometimes we get burned pretty bad.  The ones that are good are not cheap and you get what ya pay for.  I just think there are a lot better, more efficient ways to make money out there, and while I am glad I got the experience, if I had to do it over again I would've chosen something else.
You can learn more about iRev motors by visiting their website at http://www.irevmotors.com/about-us.



It's never too early to start...

Child entrepreneurs in the making...

Myths about Being an Entrepreneur

I found an interesting site that discusses some common myths about being an entrepreneur, and I found them pretty insightful, so I want to share them.

Lie #1- If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
Basically, you must learn to delegate!  You are there to manage.  Assign out anything that you don't enjoy doing or anything that can be done for cheaper if you have someone else do it.

Lie #2- You have to give up your personal life to grow a small business.
In the beginning, long hours will be required.  Build up a strong team for yourself and delegate.  It's overwhelming trying to do all of the work yourself.  You will burn yourself out, so get a different plan set up quickly.

Lie #3- Once you have a small business, you can never take a vacation.
It is necessary that you take some time to wind down, unplug and refresh yourself.  You will find that when you return from a vacation, you will be inspired with new ideas and feel more motivated.

Lie #4- Being self-employed is the same as owning a business.
These are two separate things.  Owning a business means you are making money even when you aren't working.  Being self-employed means that if you take a vacation or a sick-day, you will be losing out on a bit of money here and there.  This is why it is essential for you to build up a team to create a real business that can run smoothly regardless of if you are there are not.

Below is a link to the site where these thoughts rooted from:



How to Become an Entrepreneur

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: Someone who wants to become an entrepreneur should be hanging out with entrepreneurs. You are who you hang out with.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: A business plan is essential for anyone who is trying to start any type of business!  They're not just for obtaining financing and shouldn't be put onto a shelf once they are complete.  It's a tool that a business owner can use to help guide them in the right direction for their business.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: Someone who wants to become an entrepreneur should be sure they have the self discipline and work ethic before proceeding.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: To become an entrepreneur, one should brainstorm about what societal needs are not being met and then develop a solution to alleviate one of those needs.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: The aspiring entrepreneur would  benefit by interviewing someone who is doing, what they hope to do.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: Someone who wants to become an entrepreneur should take something they're passionate about and start thinking about it as a business by promoting through free services and social networks.  That way business can be done with virtually zero overhead to see if they like it.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: Do what makes you happy.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: You must have a vision that you write down.  You must be looking forwards not backwards.


**How To Become An Entrepreneur: Take inventory of all of your past experience, jobs and education.  Make a list of the top 5 things you enjoy doing the most.  Based on those 5 things, identify what problems you can solve with your skills.  Brainstorm what type of people or businesses are looking for your solutions.  Start offering your services, one new client at a time.

**How To Become An Entrepreneur: Ask the ultimate question... What if?

What is an entrepreneur?


a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
An entrepreneur: Sees an opportunity. Makes a plan. Starts the business. Manages the business. Receives the profits.




Welcome to my blog! I am excited to explore and tell you all that I learn about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how it is best achieved. More will come in the near future.