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Guest Post: Building Your Startup: Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

Whether you’re a recent graduate with an exciting business idea or a young professional who would prefer to run your own startup rather than work for someone else, entrepreneurship might be in your future. If you’ve been daydreaming about a particular business idea, these tips from The Hilltop Group will help you execute your entrepreneurial vision.

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Outline Your Idea

First, you’ll need to get your ideas down in writing. Jot down your thoughts – what do you plan to sell? Will you need a retail space? Will you work independently, or hire employees? WeWork advises writing down all of these details in an organized business plan.

Budgeting and Funding

As you create your business plan, you should also include information about your budget projections. You’ll need to determine whether or not you can fund your business from your own savings to start, or if you’ll need to apply for outside funding. Foundr suggests using crowdfunding platforms to raise money or applying for relevant grants.

Hiring Employees and Establishing Payroll

You may not be able to handle every aspect of running your startup by yourself. But how can you find trustworthy employees? Look for candidates who have great potential in addition to relevant experience. Ideally, you’ll want to hire reliable people who are passionate about your company’s mission.

Getting your payroll off the ground will be an essential part of setting up your startup for success. Setting up your payroll will involve creating a payroll schedule, asking new hires to fill out W-4 forms, and organizing your employees’ information.

Forming an LLC

You can begin offering your products or services to clients and customers before deciding on an official business structure, but if you’re planning to form an LLC, it’s best to take care of this task early on. You’ll be able to enjoy an array of benefits for your business if you form an LLC, including tax perks, flexibility, and limited liability. The process won’t involve dealing with much paperwork. Make sure to research the rules for the state where you live before you begin gathering your documents for filing. Each state has its own process.

Creating a Supportive Culture

As you run your company, don’t solely focus on maximizing profits – think about how you can become a better leader and create a positive company culture. You’ll have an easier time attracting and retaining top employees! Be willing to listen to your employees when they have feedback and integrate their suggestions into company operations when necessary. Step up to tackle difficult issues as they arise rather than sweeping them under the rug. Take time to address the roots of problems within your company so that you can remove these obstacles.

Be patient with your employees — you’re all learning and growing as you go! And remember, upholding clear priorities as you expand your company will allow you to set a better example for your employees.

Market Your Business

Whether you are selling a product or providing a service, you’ll want to let the public know you’re open for business. Even if you’re not a marketer by trade, it’s important for you to know  who your target audience is and how to reach them. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of your time and resources on people who will never buy from you.

Utilizing marketing professionals may be the way to go, as they come equipped with the latest tools and technology — and expertise — to help get the results you’re looking for.

Many young people with entrepreneurial aspirations feel like they need to wait until later in life to start their own businesses. While gaining experience in your field can be undeniably beneficial, there are plenty of opportunities for young entrepreneurs today, and sometimes, your fresh perspective can be an asset! By following these tips, you’ll be ready to transform your business idea into a thriving company.

Carla Lopez retired a couple of years ago, but she didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit. She created Boomer Biz for retirees like herself who still have a desire to work and achieve. The site is a resource for people in their golden years who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love. 

Guest Post: Tips for Starting Over After Closing Your Business

From time to time I like to include guest posts about relevant topics. Following is an insightful article which is certainly relevant for the times.

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Tips for Starting Over After Closing Your Business

This is just one example of all the great content you can find on The Hilltop Group website!

It’s tough to let go of a business when you’ve put so much time, energy, and money into it, but sometimes there’s just no other option. There’s nothing wrong with admitting defeat and deciding to move on. In fact, some of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs failed many times before achieving success. The key is to accept it and use what you learned to build an even better business the next time around! Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Start Planning Your Next Venture

Many entrepreneurs find that the best way to move on from a setback is to jump right into their next big project. If you want to bounce back quickly, start thinking about a new business idea. Look for ways in which you could improve on your last business model or branch off and explore a whole new industry—it’s up to you!

Building a strong foundation for your new business will maximize your chance of success, so try not to rush things. Give your full attention to each step in the process. This means spending time on market research, writing up a basic business plan, securing the appropriate amount of funding, and choosing a business structure carefully. ZenBusiness suggests forming an LLC if you want to protect your personal assets from liability but keep your administrative obligations as simple as possible. You can do this online as long as you follow the specific requirements in your state.

Give Yourself Time to Heal

Of course, you may have to spend some time tending to your emotional and financial needs before launching a new business. Closing a business can really disrupt your life! Take some time to practice self-care and allow yourself to heal. It’s completely normal to experience a period of grief after closing a business, so try to accept how you feel and embrace the grieving process.

Practice Self-Care

It can help to distract yourself with self-care activities like exercise, cooking healthy meals, and spending time with loved ones. This is also a great opportunity to relax and reset after all the hard work you’ve been doing. Take a hot bath, go for a drive and blast your favorite music, or find a quiet spot outside to sit and read a book. Before you know it, you’ll feel recharged and ready to take on your next venture!

Recover Your Financial Health

Next, get your financial health back on track. Recovering from a financial setback can be challenging, but with the right plan, you should be able to rebuild your personal finances and get back to where you started.

Clever Girl Finance suggests adjusting your budget first and foremost. Make sure you will be able to cover your bills and pay for essentials like groceries and personal care items. If you’ve lost your only source of income and you plan on leveraging debt to get by for a while, a ruthless budget will help you minimize the amount of debt you take on. You may even want to get a part-time job or an online side-gig while you get back on your feet and build your new business.

Closing a business is an incredibly stressful and emotionally challenging process. Try not to let your recent setback discourage you from the entrepreneurial path. There’s a lot to be gained from embracing failure and using your experience to drive you forward!

Are you ready to start a new business? Check out The Hilltop Group website to access business services like virtual assisting, consulting, and video production that can help you get up and running!

Carla Lopez retired a couple of years ago, but she didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit. She created Boomer Biz for retirees like herself who still have a desire to work and achieve. The site is a resource for people in their golden years who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love. 

Staying Productive Using Technology

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re all having a great day. Our weather is wreaking havoc on my chronic conditions and as such I’m forced to stay in bed. I’m grateful for all the wonderful technology that is available that allows you to work even if you’re not able to get to the office – or home office!

Kathy’s Bed Desk

First, I start with the fastest internet I can get. In my area, we really only have one choice, Xfinity. I don’t like how much they charge but I do like the reliability. I no longer have their TV or digital voice packages so that helps. (I use Hulu and some Prime channels to make up the difference).

Next, to get the fastest wifi possible throughout my house – or you can use it in an office environment – I have the Orbi Wifi Mesh system, with the router and two satellites. We really love it, and the range is amazing, I have no issues even in the Treehouse Office, or the studio, it is a great product by NetGear.

Next, for remote working from bed, I log into my desktop upstairs using SplashTop by LogMeIn.com I can easily manage not only my computers but my clients’ as well. They even have mobile apps for logging in from your phone or tablet. I have used their service for many years and it just keeps getting better.

For ambiance, and to provide a bit of background noise so my tinnitus doesn’t scream at me so much and make me dizzy, I keep a crackling fireplace video going on the TV. There are a number of videos that are included in Amazon Prime, and I’ve included the link. This is perfect for winter, but for summer I like the streams, rivers and so on. And I’m a huge fan of the Smithsonian Channel’s Ariel America – I’ve probably seen every episode multiple times.

Now, for the desk, I use a simple bed desk I got from Amazon – with adjustable legs – this is important because some days you might want to snuggle with a puppy and they need a bit more room 🙂 My kids are constantly wanting under the desk, and under the blankets – which cheers me up immensely. I got the basic one made of bamboo with a fan built in that I can plug into the power strip. But now I’m thinking I need to have a bit more oomph for it, so I’ve put this one in my cart to “think about”. It is much more than the one I have currently in that it has adjustable height and tilting top, but I’m not sure I really need that. I might just look for things I can clip to the one I have.

See? You CAN work and be somewhat immobile. Or in the middle of a pandemic and being forced to work from home (which I’ve been doing since 1996 by the way). and it can still be comfortable and productive. Having worked from home for so long, I’ll never go back to a traditional office.

Best wishes to everyone and I pray you stay healthy and safe!

In all transparency, if you click on one of my links (except the search results links) I’ll get a bit of a commission. 🙂

Crazy World

Good morning. I was just reflecting on what a crazy world we live in now. We are in the middle of a pandemic, have corruption and chaos running rampant throughout our government, and people are losing their businesses, jobs, and homes. It’s a bleak time.

People are scared, angry, confused – I admit, I am too.

So, I’m doing something about my fears. I’m confronting those things I have control over. Yes, it’s a nuts world right now. But I don’t have to feel afraid of it. I’m turning off the news. I’m going to watch my local morning report which isn’t as politically motivated, nor as fear-mongering as national news. No, I wasn’t happy about the election results but since I can’t control it or change those results, I’m not going to listen to it anymore.

Yesterday, I was on Facebook and had their stupid “election results” alert popped on almost everything I read – which was maddening. So, we know that social media is manipulating what people see, censoring our thoughts, so… I won’t have anything to do with it other than business. If it’s personal, I’m keeping it off Facebook.

I choose to focus on the positive. I choose to be happy with my life. I choose to find joy in everyday things. I choose to be grateful.

You should too. Make a plan. Take a walk (where possible). Play with your kids, your pets. Talk over the fence (socially distancing of course!) with your neighbors. Read a good book. Watch a movie. Cook something new. Plant something. But turn off the negativity by turning off the news. If it’s relevant to you, you’ll probably get an alert on your phone. You don’t need to be glued to the news outlets. They have lied and spread fear for long enough.

What I’ve Learned After 23 Years in Business

Peaceful Treehouse Office

Or should I say what I haven’t learned?!?

I’ve learned that time management doesn’t mean juggling multiple things at once. I’ve discovered that with few exceptions, multi-tasking doesn’t work. When I’m working on a project for a client and have the timer going, I can’t just keep it going when I’m interrupted with another task, or call. It all stops one timer and starts another.

The ONLY exception I know of is to be on hold for a client and working on a task for another client. In that case, that’s a quick multitask since you’re listening for the person on the other end of the phone to come back. The illusion of multitasking drives me crazy. I might sometimes give off the impression I’m multi-tasking but I’m really just moving from one project to another in quick succession.

I’ve learned I have swiss cheese memory and if I don’t write it down, or set a task (and REMINDER) in Todoist, I will completely forget it. I like that set-it-and-forget-it method. I like running through my to do list completeted items and realize how much got done. (Or not!)

I’ve learned to take breaks. Quick trips out of the office for a couple of days at a time are wonderful for a fast recharge. I’ve learned to not deny myself time away from the office. I’ve also learned to pack the laptop in case of client emergencies – which makes them and I feel better about being away. I cherish my time away now as much as I cherish this business I built and nurtured from the infancy of the virtual assisting industry I helped forge, to where it is today.

I’ve learned to cherish my clients as well. I have clients I’ve been working with for nearly twenty years and some that are relative newcomers with only a couple years of time in. My clients are loyal and my client turnover is low. We work together seamlessly and I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them. When its time to retire – IF I ever decide to! – I will hand them off to trusted professionals I’ve personally trained to do my clients’ work.

But honestly, I can’t see myself retiring for some time. In this business, I can literally be anywhere there is a connection and work. My husband and I can be on vacation and if I schedule in a couple work days here and there I can do both vacation and handle my client needs. For the most part, I still have some who have in person needs (bank deposits, or mail handling) and for those I’ll enlist the help of someone local.

I’ve learned to relish the workday because it gives me purpose. I am a person with chronic illnesses for which working remotely is ideal. Because of this, I’ve learned to tolerate my illnesses, and work through them, and with them. I no longer feel inadequate or that I’m a burden.

Hilltop's Office Helpers
Office Helpers

I’ve learned to appreciate my little ‘helpers’ Mac & Ginger. Their need for little ‘walkies’ has assured me that I have a break – or several – during the day. Rain or shine, Winter or summer, I get to get outside and breath the fresh air.

I’ve learned that freedom is everything. Freedom to work the way I want, and where I want. I can be in the office, at the dining table, sick in bed, or my favorite place in the spring, summer and fall, in the Treehouse Office. Where I live I am surrounded by beauty and tranquility. Yes I can hear my neighbors doing lawn work, but most often its the sounds of nature and breezes through the trees. Its magical.

And one of the last things that I’ve learned, is who I am. It’s only taken a lifetime but now I know I’d never change a thing.

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