Posted October 4, 2011 at 3:46 am
by Jennifer Alsever
What if you could take out someone else’s trash, then sell it back to the same person who threw it away? For most entrepreneurs, that sounds like a pipe dream. For Dan Blake, it’s the business model behind EcoScraps, the fast-growing startup he launched in Provo, Utah, last year.
Every day EcoScraps picks up 30 tons of old fruit and vegetables from stores across Utah and Arizona. The 14-employee company then composts the food waste and resells it as bags of organic potting soil inside those same stores: about 300 retailers including branches of Costco (COST, Fortune 500), Whole Foods (WFM) and Bashas’ Supermarkets, along with smaller nurseries and garden centers. The turnover amounts to 1,000 bags of potting soil daily.
“The sales process is super-easy for us,” says Blake, the company’s 23-year-old CEO. “It not only saves stores money, but they can sell it back to consumers.”
EcoScraps became profitable by the end of its first year, he says, and he expects it to take in $1.5 million in revenue for 2011. Blake plans to expand the model into Colorado and Washington in the coming months. He hopes to reach the East Coast in 2012.
Participating stores get free removal of produce they would otherwise have to pay to haul away. They also reap a 30% markup on each $6 bag of potting soil sold — and they get to boast about being green, with in-store fliers touting their contributions to an environmentally sustainable product.
EcoScraps’ story began with a [continue]…
Posted October 3, 2011 at 3:55 am
by Rieva Lesonsky
It’s that time of year—the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. As an entrepreneur myself (and one who’s slightly obsessed with hot trends), one of my favorite things about this season is seeing what the hot holiday fads will be. Remember Teddy Ruxpin? Or Tickle Me Elmo?
Sure, the holiday season is prime time for entrepreneurs to profit from fads—but there is actually opportunity to make money from fads all year long.
Here’s how you can take advantage of them.
First, understand that fads are not trends, though occasionally they can turn into one. Most fads last for just a season; others hang on for a few years. Fads tend to end relatively quickly, and often very suddenly. Trends, in contrast, can last for a decade and, even when they do end, they fade away more slowly.
There’s nothing wrong with getting caught up in a fad. The problem arises when entrepreneurs mistake a fad for a trend, and put all their eggs in that basket. Then you’re stuck with unsellable inventory, or, if you’ve based your whole business on the fad, a business with no future.
It’s great if you’re fortunate enough to profit from a fad, but be smart enough to recognize, admit, and most important, act when the fad has peaked. The ideal is to get out as fast as you got in, and move on to the next big thing.
So how can you spot the next profitable fad?
Posted September 30, 2011 at 3:55 am
Note from WV Staff: this is one incredibly valuable, and instantly usable, post. A prime example of why we put our Wealth Wire free news feed in place in the first place.
So our time in hand-picking insights, how-tos, and commentary serves you beyond a standard ‘let-software-do-the-filtering’ curated blog.
If you’re finding yourself with a pile of excuses as to why you haven’t created a thriving business yet, read this word for word.
by Tim Ferriss
I first met Noah Kagan over rain and strong espressos at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View, CA. It was 2007. We were both in hoodies, had a shared penchant for the F-bomb and burritos, all of which led to a caffeine-infused mindmeld.
It would be the first of many.
The matchmaker then introducing us was the prophetic and profane Dave McClure, General Partner of 500 Start-ups, which is now headquartered just down the street from Red Rock.
Mr. Noah has quite the start-up resume.
He was employee #30 at Facebook, #4 at Mint, had previously worked for Intel (where he frequently took naps under his desk), and had turned down a six-figure offer from Yahoo. Since we first met, Noah’s helped create Gambit, an online gaming payment platform and a multi-million dollar business; and AppSumo, loved by entrepreneurs and moms everywhere. He also helped pour fire on both the 4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body launches.
The purpose of this post is simple: to teach you how to get a $1,000,000 business idea off the ground in one weekend, full of specific tools and tricks that Noah has used himself.
He will be your guide…
For some reason, people love to make excuses about why they haven’t created their dream business or even gotten started. This is the “wantrepreneur” epidemic, where people prevent themselves from ever actually doing the side-project they always talk about over beers.
The truth of the matter is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time building the foundation for a successful business. In most cases, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple days.
We made the original product for Gambit in a weekend. “WTF?!” Yes, a weekend. In just 48 hours, some friends and I created a simple product that grew to a $1,000,000+ business within a year.
Same deal for AppSumo. We were able to build the core product in one weekend, using an outsourced team in Pakistan, for a grand total of $60.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not opposed to you trying to build a world-changing product that requires months of fine-tuning. All I’m going to suggest is that you start with a much simpler essence of your product over the course of a weekend, rather than wasting time building something for weeks… only to discover no one wants it.
I know what you’re thinking: “Yes, Noah, you are SO amazing (and handsome), but what can I do this weekend to start my own success story?”
Here are the steps you can take right now to get started on your million dollar company [continue]….
Posted September 27, 2011 at 12:34 am
by Andrea Williams
Unemployment, job dissatisfaction and sheer guts created startup success for these seven entrepreneurs.
Most young people in their 20s and 30s wouldn’t remember “Take This Job and Shove It,” a 1978 country hit sung famously by Johnny Paycheck.
But these days, they probably can appreciate the sentiment.
For millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, finding employment has not been easy. And when they do, it can be pretty crummy: long hours, low pay and little security.
For some, a good solution has been entrepreneurship.
These seven young people followed their passions and built successful startups. And they are not alone. This generation boasts a large number of business owners, so much so that the next big hit on the music charts may be: “Took this risk and loved it.”
Start at the Bottom? Yeah, Right [continue]…
Posted September 26, 2011 at 3:50 am
by Mark Cuban
Bust your ass and get rich.
Make a boatload of money. Pay your taxes. Lots of taxes. Hire people. Train people. Pay people. Spend money on rent, equipment, services. Pay more taxes.
When you make a shitload of money. Do something positive with it. If you are smart enough to make it, you will be smart enough to know where to put it to work.
I don’t care what anyone says. Being rich is a good thing. Not just in the obvious sense of benefiting you and your family, but in the broader sense. Profits are not a zero sum game. The more you make the more of a financial impact you can have.
I’m not against government involvement in times of need. I am for recognizing that big public companies will continue to cut jobs in an effort to prop up stock prices, which in turn stimulates the need for more government involvement. Every cut job by the big companies extracts a cost on the American people in one way or another.
Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm
Everything you need to know about IRC Section 6050W
Starting in 2011, all US payment providers including PayPal will be required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report sales information to the IRS about certain customers who receive payments for the sale of goods or services through PayPal.
We want to help you understand these changes.
Applies to sellers receiving over $20,000 in gross payment volume AND over 200 payments Applies only for sales on or after January 1, 2011
Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:55 am
For a fee, Kristin Wilson’s Poker Refugees relocates online poker pros to a country beyond Uncle Sam’s reach
by Caroline Winter
A glistening swimming pool, fed by waterfalls and flanked by fat palm trees, lies 20 steps from Matthew Stout and Joey Cappuccio’s new apartment in San Jose, Costa Rica. Temperatures in the high 80s would make the private pool seem an obvious refuge for the longtime friends from New Jersey, but neither has been swimming once since moving in three weeks ago.
During early September they’ve barely left their apartment at all, except for grocery store runs. They’ve been too busy playing online poker.
It’s what they do for a living, and it’s why they’ve left the U.S. Like thousands of other professional players, Stout and Cappuccio have been denied their source of income since Black Friday—Apr. 15, 2011—the day when, without warning, the Justice Dept. blocked access to the three top online poker sites in the U.S. Relocated and logged in, they’re making up for lost time.
“It took me a while to admit to myself that things aren’t going to get resolved anytime soon and that we were eventually gonna have to do something about it,” says Stout, who’s perched on a plaid chair in his new home, laptop in hand, registering for the day’s games. He barely finishes his sentence before Cappuccio, six-foot-three but the quieter of the two, blurts out: “By ‘eventually,’ we meant ‘now.’?”
In mid-August, after playing live in the World Series of Poker, the friends, both 26, made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head south, expediting a passport for Cappuccio, who’d never traveled outside the U.S.
To facilitate the move, they signed on to become the first clients of [continue]…
Posted September 20, 2011 at 2:18 am
Out in Silicon Valley, the last bastion of full employment, the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the future are staying up all night writing code in dorms.
by Christopher Beam
Feross Aboukhadijeh likes to tell the story of how he got famous. It happened last fall, as he was beginning his junior year at Stanford. Google had just unveiled a feature called Google Instant, which shows search results in real time, as you type. “I thought it was kind of gimmicky,” says Feross.
But it gave him an idea: If Google could pop out instant search results, why couldn’t YouTube produce instant videos? He bet a friend he could slap something together in an hour. “I lost the bet,” he says. “It took me three hours.”
The result was YouTube Instant, a site that lets you flip through YouTube videos in real time. Say you type in the letter A: The top video that begins with that letter—currently the music video for Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”—starts playing. Add a B to spell “Ab,” and you see a stop-animation set to the alphabet song. “Abd” gives you the trailer for the Taylor Lautner thriller Abduction. And so on.
YouTube Instant went live at 9:32 p.m. on a Thursday. When Feross woke up at eight the next morning, he had a bunch of missed calls. One of his transcribed voice-mails said, “interview washington post.”
“I was like, Nah, that can’t be right,” he says. By the end of the day, YouTube Instant had tens of thousands of views, Feross’s name and grinning face had appeared on dozens of websites and TV shows, and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley had offered him a job over Twitter.
Feross politely declined. He wanted to continue his schoolwork at Stanford, plus he had other projects gestating. But the experience put him in the crosshairs of Silicon Valley’s heavyweights, if he [continue]…
Posted September 15, 2011 at 3:45 am
Liquid nitrogen ice cream beats the heat and turns a profit for small business owners
from CNN Money
Summer may be ending but a good scoop of liquid nitrogen ice cream can be enjoyed year-round.
Liquid nitrogen ice cream. Ice cream makers nationwide are using food chemistry to transform this favorite dessert into a funkier, high-tech, customizable indulgence.
Using KitchenAid mixers tricked out with liquid nitrogen tanks, creameries turn simple ingredients like milk, sugar and fruit into made-to-order ice cream in under a minute.
The blend rapidly chills as liquid nitrogen — with a boiling point of -320 degrees — instantly vaporizes in a billowing, Phantom of the Opera-esque fog. When the cloud evaporates, the ice cream is ready.
The speedy process boosts taste. The quick freeze means ice crystals don’t have as much time to form, explained Aaron Goldstein, a chemist and Virginia Tech professor. “Consequently, they’re really small, which makes the texture of the ice cream seem more creamy and less icy,” he said.
The result is scoopable ice cream that has supported franchises like Sub Zero Ice Cream and Blue Sky Creamery from Georgia to Arizona to Washington state.
Now, liquid nitrogen, plus cream and almost limitless flavor options are fast becoming a recipe for success for local parlors and catering firms.
Posted September 13, 2011 at 2:23 am
by Karen E. Klein
For the most part, the myth of free government money for small business funding is just that—mythology. But a handful of federal agencies contract with private companies to do research and development for new systems and products, primarily to aid the U.S. military.
One is the Office of Naval Research, which is charged with contracting with small, disadvantaged business owners as defined by the Small Business Administration. Brenda Pickett, associate director of small business for the ONR, spoke recently with Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about what she looks for from small business. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.
Karen E. Klein: How does the Office of Naval Research interact with small businesses?
Brenda Pickett: The small business community provides new technology to the ONR by submitting new types of research and development ideas to us for funding consideration. The ideas are reviewed by our program officials to see whether they are ideas or concepts we’d be interested in funding.