4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Funding For Startup

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Seeking financing for your startup is one of the most daunting tasks faced by budding entrepreneurs. The world is littered with examples of failed startups. Most of the times, the root cause of this is one thing: Money. If you are about to embark on the self-rewarding journey of setting up your own startup, learn the lesson by not making the following same mistakes made by countless before you.

  1. Inadequate Market Research: You have an idea for a product or service which you think is brilliant and will be a game changer. Most of the times, startups are too attached with their idea, understandably so since it is their baby. However, before embarking on this journey make do these things:
  • Research if there is even a market for the product.
  • Not understanding the need of the customers. Your product needs to solve problems of people.
  • Do small market test runs with product to guide product development the right way.
  1. Giving Up Too Much Control: In the initial days when despite so many efforts, startups see no money tickling their way, they tend to get desperate. Most of the investors in early stages of finance want to have a stake in the equity of the company in return for their money.

Startup needs to realize that they will need investing in more than one stage thus it is important not to give too much equity in the beginning. Giving up too much control can end up making you a minority shareholder later on.

  1. Raising Too Much or Too Little Money: Too much or too little of anything is never good. It is important to understand exactly how much capital you are going to need at every stage of your startup by doing thorough valuation and analysis.
  • Having too much does give you some cushion, but money does not come free. With too much money at hand, you might be tempted to make decisions for which the startup is not ready.
  • Some startups play it safe by asking for too little money. This can also be a recipe for disaster, as you will run out of money soon. And will need to go through the entire process again, letting the investors know that you did not plan right.
  1. Targeting the Wrong Investors: Do not waste your time trying to get investment from a firm who has no history of lending to your industry or for startup financing. Or going to an investor who already has an investment in your competitor. Try to get investors, who also bring something to the table other than just money, it can be in the form of recruitment or product development or simple mentoring.

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Time to Kick These Common 3 SEO Myths

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Search engine optimization has been around since ages and is constantly changing. It is as relevant today as it was before and always keep the marketers and SEO strategist adopting. Despite its importance, business owners usually have certain misconceptions about SEO and the role it plays. Down below are some of the most common myths about SEO and why they are just that, myths and nothing more.

  1. They are Clickbait: One of the most prevalent myth is that SEO is just click baiting and nothing else. Coming up with keywords that your intended user associates with is just one step of the bigger picture in the SEO process. Proper SEO makes the user experience better by:
    • Making content that is more easily discovered
    • Structuring data
    • Optimizing website for mobile & social media use
    • Reaching the right audience

Unfortunately, some of the smaller naïve businesses have been taken for a ride by others who promised that their website will be ranked #1 for $xx. Of course, there is not such short cut for SEO and now they think SEO is just a fraud. SEO requires hard work and effort in order to be effective.

  1. Blogs are Essential for SEO: Some people associate SEO with blog writing and believe that blogs are the actual essence of it. A blog will not magically make your website appear higher on the search ranks or make more people look you up.

A blog can be a great way to further strengthen your website and augment your SEO friendly content if you already have a strong website presence. If your business is new, no one is going to be interested in your blog.

You should use blogs when:

  • You have little competition
  • Have an established website (check domain authority score)
  • Write blogs on external websites
  • If you must write blogs for your new business, use Facebook to promote them
  1. Link building is Bad: People either think that link building is dead or view it as something where more is merrier. Not all link building is equal and quality and not quantity, matter when it comes to link building. Linking through Twitter or Facebook or some unknown websites is actually bad but a mention in a reputable website can do wonders for your SEO results.

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How to Unlock Our Hidden Master Creativity Genius

Read this guide and discover the creative strategies of the greatest artists, musicians, and writers in the world—Pablo Picasso, Franz Kafka, Dr. Seuss and many more.

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The full guide is packed with 36 pages of information on how creativity works, how to overcome the mental blocks that all artists face, and how to make creative thinking a habit.

For instant access, just enter your email address and click “Get Updates!” You’ll get immediate access to the guide, plus you’ll receive new articles every Monday and Thursday about boosting your creativity, mastering your habits, and living a good life.

Don’t see a signup form? Send me a message here and I’ll add you right away.

This page pulls together my most essential information about creativity. I’ll share how creativity works, how to find your hidden creative genius, and how to create meaningful work by learning how to make creative thinking a habit. I’ve tried to present the basics of everything you need to know to start mastering creativity, even if you don’t have much time.

At the end of this page, you’ll find a complete list of all the articles I have written on creativity.
creative-process

What is Creativity?
Let’s define creativity.

The creative process is the act of making new connections between old ideas or recognizing relationships between concepts. Creative thinking is not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way that has not been done previously.

Young believed the process of creative connection always occurred in five steps.

The Creative Process
Gather new material. At first, you learn. During this stage you focus on 1) learning specific material directly related to your task and 2) learning general material by becoming fascinated with a wide range of concepts.
Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind. During this stage, you examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together.
Step away from the problem. Next, you put the problem completely out of your mind and go do something else that excites you and energizes you.
Let your idea return to you. At some point, but only after you have stopped thinking about it, your idea will come back to you with a flash of insight and renewed energy.
Shape and develop your idea based on feedback. For any idea to succeed, you must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.
Read more: For a More Creative Brain, Follow These 5 Steps

Is There Such a Thing as ‘Naturally Creative’?
While we often think of creativity as an event or as a natural skill that some people have and some don’t, research actually suggests that both creativity and non-creativity are learned.

According to psychology professor Barbara Kerr, “approximately 22 percent of the variance [in creativity] is due to the influence of genes.” This discovery was made by studying the differences in creative thinking between sets of twins.

All of this to say, claiming that “I’m just not the creative type” is a pretty weak excuse for avoiding creative thinking. Certainly, some people are primed to be more creative than others. However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

Read more: Creativity Is a Process, Not an Event

3 Lessons on Creativity from Famous Creators
The 15-Minute Routine Anthony Trollope Used to Write 40+ Books: Beginning with his first novel in 1847, Anthony Trollope wrote at an incredible pace. Over the next 38 years, he published 47 novels, 18 works of non-fiction, 12 short stories, 2 plays, and an assortment of articles and letters. Let’s break down why Trollope’s simple strategy allowed the author to be so productive and how we can use it in our own lives.

How Creative Geniuses Come Up With Great Ideas: Best-selling author Markus Zusak estimated that he rewrote the first part of his popular book “The Book Thief” 150 to 200 times. His work ethic and dedication tell us something crucial about how creative geniuses come up with great ideas.
You can also check out creativity articles about Albert Einstein, Martha Graham, George R.R. Martin, and Maya Angelou.

How to Be Creative
Step 1: Give yourself permission to create junk
In any creative endeavor, you have to give yourself permission to create junk. There is no way around it. Sometimes you have to write 4 terrible pages just to discover that you wrote one good sentence in the second paragraph of the third page.

Creating something useful and compelling is like being a gold miner. You have to sift through pounds of dirt and rock and silt just to find a speck of gold in the middle of it all. Bits and pieces of genius will find their way to you, if you give yourself permission to let the muse flow.

Step 2: Create on a schedule
No single act will uncover more creative genius than forcing yourself to create consistently. Practicing your craft over and over is the only way to become decent at it. The person who sits around theorizing about what a best-selling book looks like will never write it. Meanwhile, the writer who shows up every day and puts their butt in the chair and their hands on the keyboard — they are learning how to do the work.

If you want to do your best creative work, then don’t leave it up to choice. Don’t wake up in the morning and think, “I hope I feel inspired to create something today.” You need to take the decision-making out of it. Set a schedule for your work. Genius arrives when you show up enough times to get the average ideas out of the way.

Step 3: Stop judging your own work
Everyone struggles to create great art. Even great artists.

Anyone who creates something on a consistent basis will begin to judge their own work. I write new articles every Monday and Thursday. After sticking to that publishing schedule for three months, I began to judge everything I created. I was convinced that I had gone through every decent idea I had available. My most popular article came 8 months later.

It is natural to judge your work. It is natural to feel disappointed that your creation isn’t as wonderful as you hoped it would be, or that you’re not getting any better at your craft. But the key is to not let your discontent prevent you from continuing to do the work.

You have to practice enough self-compassion to not let self-judgement take over. Sure, you care about your work, but don’t get so serious about it that you can’t laugh off your mistakes and continue to produce the thing you love. Don’t let judgment prevent delivery.

Step 4: Hold yourself accountable
Share your work publicly. It will hold you accountable to creating your best work. It will provide feedback for doing better work. And when you see others connect with what you create, it will inspire you and make you care more.

Sometimes sharing your work means you have to deal with haters and critics. But more often than not, the only thing that happens is that you rally the people who believe the same things you believe, are excited about the same things you are excited about, or who support the work that you believe in — who wouldn’t want that?

The world needs people who put creative work out into the world. What seems simple to you is often brilliant to someone else. But you’ll never know that unless you choose to share.

How to Find Your Creative Genius
Finding your creative genius is easy: do the work, finish something, get feedback, find ways to improve, show up again tomorrow. Repeat for ten years. Or twenty. Or thirty.

Inspiration only reveals itself after perspiration.

Best Creativity Books

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander
Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod

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Why being a successful blogger has not solely rely on good writing?

Okay, so you’ve set up your hosting, picked a theme for your WordPress site, and come up with a list of topics to write about,  What next?

Now it’s time to start writing.

Writing can be a daunting adventure for many people. In fact, it was once upon a time for me too.

I remember when I first started blogging, I wasn’t a writer in the traditional sense by any stretch. I just shared my thoughts, emotions, tips, tactics, and inspiration in a format that people could digest. It turns out they liked it.

You don’t have to be a masterful writer to start and run a successful blog. Blogging is therapeutic. It’s an outlet. A way for you to share and connect with the (believe it or not) millions of other people out in the world who are just like you. You just haven’t discovered each other yet!

But, if you are still daunted by the task of writing a blog, here is a 3-part formula you can follow for making every blog memorable:

  • Write a mind-blowing headline that entices people to click and read your blog when they discover it.
  • Hook readers in with short, punchy sentences, storytelling, and emotive language.
  • Keep people engaged with visuals such as screenshots, infographics, videos, image quotes, and GIFs.

Just remember blogging does not solely rely on how best you are in writing and in English grammar. Blogging also involves on how you connect with your readers, how to entice them, how to keep them to always read you blogr posts, and having more sense of humor in your blog. Here are one of the lists to take in writing a blog and to generate traffic.

  • Engage with your readers.
  • Come up with the best and unique topic.
  • Know how to generate real and organic traffic.
  • Use the free but really best source of engagement to get traffic the social media site.
  • Know how to use back-links.
  • Avoid illegitimate and doubtful free traffic source.
  • Lastly, always be upbeat and always keep the fire up.

20 Best Strategies for Brainstorming Your Blog Post Ideas

Remember when you first started blogging?

Your mind was flooded with great blog post ideas – coming up with them wasn’t challenging.

Instead, executing on those ideas is probably what was keeping you up at night.

Then one day, you’re not sure how or why – your flow of ideas started to slow.

Your posting schedule became less consistent, and the pressure to come up with new topics only increased your anxiety.

But you were no closer to a solution.

We’ve all been there.

Some call it writer’s block, others just chalk it up to a lack of inspiration. But whatever you call it, one thing is clear: you need new blog post ideas, and you need them quick.

Here are 27 strategies that will help you come up with more blog post ideas, and fill up that content calendar.

Designer drawing a light bulb, concept for brainstorming and ins

1. Mine your hobbies

I love reading posts that offer a unique perspective on a popular topic – your audience might be the same.

Make a list of hobbies and cross reference them with your industry. It’ll result in a headline like: 7 Things I Learned About [industry topic] from [your hobby].

2. Read a great book

Non-fiction books feature tons of information, studies and antidotes that you can use to brainstorm new blog post ideas.

One easy technique for using this tactic is to go through the Table of Contents and use the chapter headings as new blog posts.

3. Get another perspective

Nothing quite says brainstorming like gathering a group of people together around a whiteboard.

If possible, find people in parallel industries to offer different perspectives (e.g. If you’re writing about marketing, get small business owners, web developers and graphic designers to contribute).

4. Review old content

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you should have a list of popular posts on your website.

Look through your archives and brainstorm new ways to attack old content.

Repurposing your content can open up the door for tons of new posts.

5. Word association

An age-old favorite: word association.

It’s a simple process.

Start with an industry-related word or phrase. Then write the first thing that comes into your head upon reading that word.

Keep going until you’ve found several angles that will make for some unique posts.

6. Use Google’s suggestions

You know how Google suggests phrases as you type your search query? That’s right – we’re going to use it to brainstorm.

Type in your phrase and use the suggestions to come up with blog post ideas:

Google suggestions for blog ideas

7. Read the news

You can newsjack stories that directly affect your readers.

Or you can take an indirect approach by finding a popular news story outside your industry and writing about how it could affect your audience.

For example, as a marketer, the drought in California isn’t directly related to my niche. But I could still use this newsworthy topic to write a story like How the California Drought Will Affect Silicon Valley Startups.

8. Go somewhere else

Some places are just more inspirational than others. That’s why I love the idea of PeerSpace (it’s like AirBnB, but for creative spaces).

Even something as simple as a park pavilion or private room in a restaurant can do the trick.

9. Use freewriting

Freewriting is the foundation of several brainstorming techniques.

You simply write nonstop for a set amount of time. Don’t make corrections or edits along the way. Just keep writing until your time ends and see what ideas have come out of your session.

10. Dive into Quora

Quora is a wonderful community, full of people asking and answering questions.

You can follow interests related to your industry and then when you need new blog post ideas, dig through the stream and look for questions or answers that could help your audience.

I’m such a huge fan of this technique that I’ve actually incorporated it into the strategy documents I share with my content marketing clients.

One tab on the document automatically pulls in a list of related Quora questions, giving us plenty of ideas that we know people are looking for information on.

11. Keyword research

Solid keywords are the cornerstone of blog posts, which make them a perfect brainstorming tool.

I try to make an effort to discover new keywords on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite tools for the job include: Google Keyword PlannerSEMrush and BuzzSumo.

12. Make a mind map

Start with big ideas or general keywords (e.g. Internet Marketing). Then, break it down into smaller sections (e.g. Content Marketing, PPC, SEO).

Continue to get more specific, giving you a bunch of topics that will make for great posts.

13. Use an idea generator

Several companies have created blog topic generators. When all else fails, use one of these to spark content ideas. (My favorite is the one by Portent.)

Blog post idea generator portent

14. Mistakes and learning

Make a list of the challenges, mistakes and failures you’ve overcome.

Chances are, your readers are facing similar things and need the concrete solutions  you can provide from your experience.

It’s a perfect opportunity to create helpful content.

15. Use a brainstorming spreadsheet

Hubspot has a brainstorming spreadsheet that adds a bit of structure to the process. It’s a visual, detailed way to generate ideas based on a general topic.

16. Search social media

Tools like Topsy help you search through the topics that are being shared most on social media. Go through the popular posts related to your industry and mine them for content ideas.

17. Write down your ideas

The best ideas seem to happen when I’m not trying to create them. Carrying around a notebook helps me capture my ideas – whether I’m out and about or waking up from a dream.

When you get in the habit of writing down ideas, you may find that they flow a lot easier as well. Give it a try!

18. Take advantage of your comments

Find a blog in your industry with an active comments section (or, if you have a discussion section on your own blog, use that).

Read through each comment and look at what people are asking. Those questions can lead to great ideas for blog posts.

19. Use the Medici Effect

The Medici Effect refers to the way in which seemingly unrelated things often intersect. When coming up with blog post ideas, look for commonalities across different topics.

For example, let’s say I ran a blog about helping freelancers succeed. If I came across a post about the best morning routines for executives, I could then translate that topic into something specific to my audience.

20. Do competitor analysis

Go through the content that your competitors are creating. I like to start in their Most Popular Postssection, or use one of the many tools online that make this even easier.

Analyze the post topics and their relative popularity. Then, look for ways you can expand on the topics, include better research or create a piece of content that’s better overall.