I'm currently working on platform where users can sell items of a certain niche. Without going into more detail, any user can create an item, and put it up for sale on the platform. Now, for other users to buy it, I'm considering using the Stripe SDK, but I would love to hear if there's a better way to do it. However, on the other hand, I'm confused as to how I would pay the sellers back, since anyone can be a seller. I was thinking direct bank transfer at the end of every month or so, but I can only think of manually doing it, by sending money from my business account to their personal accounts. Is there a better way to do this? What legalities should I be aware of?
I've hired or talked to 3 business coaches and have been unsatisfied with all 3. None of the coaches had ever started a successful business outside of their coaching business. One coach had an unsuccessful tech startup, and a second coach once started a division of a company (which he seemed to think was as difficult as starting a new company). It seems that the mantra "Those who can't, teach" is true.
The coaches would often give me advice like "buy Facebook ads", but since they've never had to buy Facebook ads, they couldn't help me make specific decisions.
Has anyone ever had a good experience with a business or marketing coach? What advice or wisdom was helpful?
We're building a product that will primarily be used as a web app. Subscription based with a monthly/annual fee.
Some users have requested a mobile app, and we're happy to build one and move towards it being on the apple/google stores, but we are hesitant to be paying 30% in fees on our app. It's a pretty big disincentive to make and push the app, from our perspective (recognizing that it does provide a lot of value for some apps).
If users are subscribing to our services on our own site, and then downloading the app to access the service/product, are we still in a situation where we need to give 30% of our sales to Apple?
Has anyone done any detailed research on this? Note that we're not trying to 'skirt' the rules. We're just not totally clear on what the rules are; it looks like a lot of companies have apps that don't process payments on them, and maybe that's one way of avoiding payment.
Hi, we are 4 days from delivering our software to our first paying customer.
Yesterday we realised that the software we have developed isn't goint to work when we apply it to real life problems and wont scale for the forseeable future. Our customer probably won't find out for the first week, but after that they will def. know.
How would you deal with this situation?
How should we approach this problem as a Team?
All tips or help is much appriciated <3
*Update: We had a meeting and agreed on a few things. *
- We will adjust the rules of what questions it can ask
- Implement som guardrails to the bot so rather than having one pool of questions we will have 1-3 mandatory pool of questions. Fixing the issue of the bot jumping around to much.
- Re-configure all questions to one homogenous framework. (Fancy word – We remove old and dated questions)
- Use data from the customer so we cover 20% of all common issues from the start, getting rid of our own test data.
As for the customer – I'm fairly sure we can deliver our demo product for the launch date and up-date it to the version we are working on now within the end of next week. Fortunatly I've worked with them before and they trust me enough to give is chance for the first couple of weeks.
Many experts will tell you that you can’t succeed as a part-time entrepreneur, as any good startup will require a 100 percent commitment of your time and energy. But not many of us have enough savings to live for a year or more without a salary, fund the startup, and still feed the family. Thus I often recommend that entrepreneurs keep their day job until the startup is producing revenue.
Of course, if you have investors anxious to give you money, or a rich uncle to keep you afloat, there is nothing wrong with a dedicated and full commitment to the startup, with commensurate more aggressive milestones and growth expectations. We all understand the risk of competitors quickly closing in, and market factors changing before we can roll out our solution.
For those of you who do decide to keep your day job, here are some pragmatic recommendations I espouse on how to make the most progress in your startup, while simultaneously juggling your other critical family and employer roles. In fact, these suggestions have tremendous value, even if you are dedicated and committed full-time to your new startup:
- Find a co-founder who can keep you balanced. Two co-founders, both working part-time are actually better than one founder full-time. You both need the complementary skills, ability to debate alternatives, and the tendency to keep each other motivated, that neither could match working alone. One still needs to be the agreed final decision maker.
- Schedule fixed times and days for the startup, working with the team. Building a startup is hard work, and requires discipline to get it done. Working part-time doesn’t mean all working randomly alone. Commit to a regular weekend time and a couple of specific nights per week where you meet with the team and focus only on the startup.
- Get better at saying ‘no’ to your friends. Learning to manage your own time is critical. Everyone around you enjoys adding things to your schedule, and reducing their to-do list. The key is learning to say no without offering a long list of excuses, or whining about how busy you are. It’s never possible to satisfy everyone, so be true first to your own priorities.
- Set realistic milestones and take them seriously. It’s easy for part-timers to make excuses that other priorities caused you to miss milestones, but predictable results and metrics in this mode are even more critical than for full-time members. Use the 80/20 rule to maximize productivity – get 80 percent outcome from 20 percent of focused efforts.
- Select a business idea that has a longer runway. Some startup ideas are dependent on a rapidly emerging fad, or have many competitors fighting for a limited market. You can’t move fast enough on a part-time basis to win in these areas. On the other hand, if you have a new technology, with patent applied for, maybe you more time to get it right.
- Prepare yourself for a longer journey to success. Seth Godin is famous for saying that the average time for overnight success in a startup is six years, even working full-time. Like any startup solution, the first version will likely be wrong, and require one or more pivots. Learn to look for small indications of success to keep you motivated.
- Make learning your full-time vocation. No matter how many full-time, part-time, and family commitments you have, you always need to carve out time for learning new things. Learning is not stealing from any employer, and it prepares you for all your futures. Don’t wait for anyone to pay your way to class, or give you time off for training. It won’t happen.
The advantage of quitting your day job early is that it removes all excuses, and all qualms from you and others, that the new startup is only a hobby. There is nothing that drives an entrepreneur like being hungry, dependent on the outcome, and seeing mounting debt. Without self-discipline, many aspiring entrepreneurs find that a single focus is the only way anything ever gets done.
There is certainly additional risk associated with working a paying job during the day, and working on your startup nights and weekends. First is the risk to your health and family life, which if you lose these, all the business opportunity in the world doesn’t matter.
Then there is the risk of antagonizing your current employer by missing deadlines, reduced productivity, or even getting embroiled in a legal conflict of interest or intellectual property ownership rights. I suggest it’s best to be up-front with your employer, with an honest commitment that your startup work will not impact company commitments or results.
Potential conflict of interest issues with a current employer should be explored openly, and resulting agreement documented, to preclude the possibility that you might lose everything later as your startup succeeds. On the positive side, your employer may like what you have in mind, and become your first investor and biggest supporter.
If your conclusion after all these pros and cons is that the risk is too high for you, you probably need to keep your day-job long-term, and give your startup idea to someone else. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with a regular well-paid job and career, with health-care benefits, and a competitive retirement plan. But the entrepreneur lifestyle is still more fun, even part-time.
Startup Professionals Musings
Marooney recently made the jump into venture capital; previously she was co-founder and CEO of The Outcast Agency, one of Silicon Valley’s best-regarded public relations firms, which she left to become VP of Global Communications at Facebook, where she led comms for eight years.
While founders often may think of PR as a way to get messaging across to reporters, Marooney says that making someone care about what you’re working on — whether that’s customers, investors or journalists — requires many of the same skills.
One of the biggest insights she shared: at a base level, no one really cares about what you have to say.
Describing something as newsworthy or a great value isn’t the same as demonstrating it, and while big companies like Amazon can get people to pay attention to anything they say, smaller startups have to be even more strategic with their messaging, Marooney says. “People just fundamentally aren’t walking around caring about this new startup — actually, nobody does.”
Getting someone to care first depends on proving your relevance. When founders are forming their messaging to address this, they should ask themselves three questions about their strategy, she recommends:
- Why should anyone care?
- Is there a purchase order existing for this?
- Who loses if you win?
I am an ESL educator whose business of offering test prep classes has been severely affected by the current pandemic. I’ve been wanting to build a digital test prep platform for years and figure now is the time to make the jump but am completely out of my depth when it comes to what is the norm for this type of work.
I met a web developer I like and that I gel with. We both agree that if all goes well then the idea is to continue to work together in the long term. For this same reasons, he is offering to cut costs by not charging for the backend development. Saving money sounds great to me but I’m not even 100% sure what this means.
Also, if things were to go south at any point in the development my understanding is that I’d be walking away with all of the front end and CMS development but NOT the backend, since it’s his. Is this normal? Is it a big risk to have to part ways without a backend were it to come to that?
“Employers assume that they will be taken advantage of if employees are given control over their finances through on-demand pay,” said Jeanniey Walden, chief innovation and marketing officer at wage access solution DailyPay.
Read more here.
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