From the category archives:

Startups

How To Turn Walls Into WhiteBoards

by Jason Wilk on April 19, 2014

Whether it’s in the office or your child’s bedroom, dry-erase paint by WhiteyBoard is an awesome way to spark creativity, keep track of tasks or to-dos or just be a bit silly. It won’t break the bank and it will impress your friends too.  Here are just a few fun and functional ideas.

  • Turn a wall into a surface for workflow or brainstorming sessions in the office or a center for fun activities in a kid’s room.
  • Paint the doors to your kids’ bedrooms to post reminders, chores or loving notes of encouragement.
  • Make the toy chest just as fun as the things inside it.
  • If you have some extra paint left over, consider painting non-traditional objects, like chairs or picture frames.

Applying dry-erase paint

Using dry-erase paint isn’t quite the same as using regular paint. It isn’t hard, you just have to follow a few basic steps. While you should always carefully read the directions for the brand you choose, these are the general steps.

Step 1: Set-up

Before you paint, measure the area you want to paint to figure out how much paint you need. WhiteyBoard is convenient since it comes in various size cans with the exact square footage you need.

Make sure the area is well ventilated. Open as many doors and windows as you can. The WhiteyBoard paint we used has zero VOC which means it is not harmful, but always good to keep some fresh air when you are painting anything.

Step 2: Prepare the area

You’ll want to start by making sure the area you want to paint is fully prepared. If your surface was previously a popcorn-painted wall, for example, you’ll want to smooth it out. You’ll also want to use painter’s tape to tape off any edges you don’t want painted, like window sills, adjacent walls or baseboards. WhiteyBoard actually sells a kit as well which comes with everything you would need: brush, tape, paint tray, markers, etc.

You should also dust and clean any dirty areas and, if desired, sand it lightly. Remember, the smoothness of the surface you paint will be the same as the smoothness of the surface when it’s finished.We recommend using a 120-grit sandpaper.

Step 3: Mix and paint

Mix the product up a little bit. You’ll want to work in about two-foot areas at a time, rolling the paint on liberally with the roller they provide. Don’t try to edge in the beginning or at the end. You’ll want to do it as you go so the paint dries evenly. Work meticulously in a grid pattern across the surface. Don’t paint over debris or fuzz, and if you screw up, fix it immediately.

Step 4: Let it dry (for 2 days)

Unlike other dry erase paints that take a week before you can write, the WhiteyBoard dry-erase paint took 2 days before we could start doodling. It’s best if you don’t remove any tape until it’s finished drying, as it can have some rather unexpected results depending on the state of the paint when you pull it.

Step 5: Write, draw, erase!

As with the other tools, you’ll want to purchase high-quality dry-erase markers. It’s best to buy the markers with the paint as those are tried and tested on the surface already. Avoid buying cheap markers as that can cause some issues.

If you want to do this to your own walls like me, head over here to purchase: WhiteyBoard.com

Then you’ll be a dry erase master like this guy!

 

 

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If you’re hoping to get your startup off the ground, the best thing you can do is come up with one great idea. Unfortunately, that’s not quite as easy as it sounds. If you need a little help figuring out how to come up with an idea that will help your business become profitable, just follow these tips!

  • Identify your target customer. Is there a particular customer segment that you already have a relationship with or that you enjoy working with? Start off figuring out which market you’d enjoy working with and selling to, and then come up with an idea that would provide those customers with something they’d value.
  • Find a problem that needs to be solved. People are more likely to buy something they need than something that is simply cool to have. Start out by solving a problem and fulfilling a need that your target customers have.
  • If you need help with that, ask around. Don’t be afraid to go out and ask people what their problems are and what they feel they need to make their lives easier – they may come up with your idea for you! Just pay attention to what people complain about and figure out a way to give them what they’re wanting.
  • Figure out what would make your life easier. Your idea can come from one of your own problems! Figure out what you need in your life; it’ll ensure that you’re addressing a problem you know definitely exists. Think of tasks you find challenging or time consuming and figure out ways to make them easier. Solving your own problem will likely also make you more motivated than solving someone else’s. Just make sure you’re not alone in wanting a particular product.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to come up with some revolutionary new idea… some of the best startups come from a mere improvement on something that already exists, rather than something entirely original. Just find something that people already use, and figure out if you can make it better or cheaper.

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Entrepreneurs, it’s time to face what might be a harsh reality – the success of your startup business depends very highly on your ability to successfully pitch your idea or product to potential clients and investors. Your pitch makes or breaks the interest in your company; in just a few sentences, you need to create a lasting impression and inspire faith in your goals. If you find yourself at a loss for words when trying to explain the merits of your startup, be sure to follow these simple tips and make your pitch one to remember.

  • Make sure you’re taking a stand. Adjust your pitch to make sure it’s clear not just what your product is, but also what exactly your business stands for and how it can help change the lives of those who utilize your product. Commit to a specific niche or purpose, in order to bring clarity to who you are and what your business will do.
  • Speak the truth. If you seem authentic, people will both hear and feel your passion and faith and buy-in to your mission. Don’t claim your business will solve everyone’s problems – clearly explain who your target consumers are, what those consumers are in need of, and how exactly you can help that specific group of people satisfy their needs.
  • Push, don’t pull.  Present your business’ accomplishments in a modest way, and allow audiences to figure out themselves how your proposition could help them. Let it be their idea to jump onboard and invest in your business.
  • Keep it simple. Use proof points, metrics, and anecdotes that your audience can grasp, instead of potentially confusing industry jargon – they shouldn’t need a dictionary to understand what you’re saying. Speak in layman’s terms whenever possible so they can listen to your ideas and not focus too much on your words.
  • Constantly update your pitch. Don’t just recite the same exact pitch for months or years on end, or it will be built on old information and experiences. As you and your business go through changes, change your pitch. Evolve the story about your career path to include recently acquired leadership and management roles, so people are listening to the impressive you that you are today and not the novice you may have been when you first started making pitches.

 

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Saving Money As You Start Up Your New Business

by steven on September 13, 2013

If you’re an entrepreneur starting your own company, you’re probably dreaming big right now and envisioning an amazing office filled with the latest equipment and best employees, right? Well unfortunately, those things are only going to be able to become a reality if you pay close attention to how much you’re spending during the start-up phase. These tips will help you keep track of your expenses and cut down as much as possible:

    1. Try starting your business at home.You don’t realistically need office space for now – an office requires a considerable investment, and until your business starts to make money, you really can’t afford that. Designate a space in your home for work, and just treat it like a corporate office. If you need to meet and impress your client, book a conference room for a day or week.
    2. Do as much as you can without hiring workers. Yes, it’s easier to manage all tasks you need accomplished when you have a team of professionals, but employees cost money that you may not need to spend if you just take on as many jobs as possible on your own. Only pay for work that you simply can’t handle alone.
    3. Rent instead of buying. Need a particular office device or piece of machinery for a few days in a month?  Just rent it on those days – furniture, fixtures and accessories for your home office can all be rented to start, and this can reduce your tax burden, as leasing is deductible.
    4. Get free advice from experts you trust. Connect with key people from your industry and attend conferences, seminars and events, and join online forums to keep track of what’s happening in the industry.
    5. Don’t just go for cheap when you’re buying things. As tempting as it is, the cheapest option often doesn’t guarantee the best value for your buck – pay equal attention to the quality AND the cost.

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When it comes to your retirement savings, do you have any idea how much should you be setting aside each month? Most people don’t save enough, which explains why the retirement income deficit has reached $6.6 million in America, with half of Americans collecting less than $10,000 in savings. It’s time to take some basic yet crucial steps towards organizing your budget, powering up your savings plan, and contributing more to your retirement fund!

  • Take advantage of your 401(k) benefits. If your company offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan, review those retirement plan benefits and make sure you’re contributing the highest possible amount every month. Some companies will match part of your contribution – the typical match on a 401(k) is 50 cents on the dollar for up to 6 percent of your salary.
  • Consider savings contributions a necessity. Reorganize your budget so your retirement savings contributions are considered monthly expenses that you have to pay.  Figure out how much disposable income you realistically have and set aside some of that money, no matter what!
  • Cut costs from your budget. Are there any costs you can cut from your current expenses? The answer is probably yes – you can likely stop eating out so often or stop spending so much money on clothes. Give yourself a weekly budget so you aren’t spending more than you should.
  • Start paying off high-interest debt. Pay off high-interest debt – doing so can free up a significant amount of money for your retirement savings. You’ll also be able to enjoy a debt-free lifestyle once you retire.
  • Work more. If you have time, get a side job to make more money and put the earnings directly into your savings account!
  • Compare retirement plans before committing. You don’t want to pay more than you need to in banking and other fees; extra savings each month can add up.
  • Seek help from a financial planner. They can help you review your budget, make recommendations on where you can cut back on expenditures, set realistic savings goals and put together a financial plan.

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