Solopreneur is the maverick of Entrepreneurs

Every entrepreneur is at some point a solopreneur

Solopreneur

Solopreneur

As the name suggests, a solopreneur is a solo entrepreneur who works alone, running their business single-handedly and are therefore,  a company of one. They might have full or part-time employees and/or contractors for hire but they alone have full responsibility for the running of their business. The typical solopreneur can easily become a workaholic, not feeling their work is ever done or done correctly if it’s not completed by themselves. A solopreneur characteristically takes on all tasks associated with running and managing a small business such as marketing, customer service and product/service distribution. A solopreneur is increasingly becoming the go to guy for companies interested in project-based execution.

General rules for Solopreneur success

  1. Define short-term, medium-term and long-term plans: It is encouraging to know when you are hitting the targets initially set and whether you are on track to meet your long term objectives for solopreneur success. Plans evolve, change and don’t always have to be strictly adhered to but, they outline the general path, how to get there, the expected timeframe in which it should be achieved and proposed solutions as to how certain risks and challenges will be overcome.
  2. Don’t do everything yourself: Taking on all responsibility for completing all associated business tasks will have negative impacts both on the solopreneur and on the business. Try not to let the solopreneur become the business bottleneck and where possible, delegate, outsource and network the mundane routine business related tasks. The solopreneur should concentrate on developing and growing the business. The solopreneur should concentrate on the tasks that they are an expert on and that they feel passionate about.
  3. Do it your way: As opportunities arise and things change, a solopreneur needs to be flexible, open-minded and get as much independent feedback as possible. Carefully monitor progress against the short-term, medium-term and long-term plans initially set. Try to keep the business on track, within budget and on time towards its vision and mission.
  4. Maintain focus: Monitor the competition but only for positive strategic planning purposes. Don’t try to emulate the best of what’s available from every competing vendor in the marketplace. The solopreneur should maintain focus on the initial plan and ultimate goals and measure progress against these.
  5. Celebrate all achievements: It is important to recognise the progress being made by the solopreneur and these should be celebrated. Milestones reached, challenges overcome and all positive solopreneur achievements should be reflected upon and noted so as to maintain a positive attitude going forward and encourage awareness of all accomplishments.

How to achieve online Solopreneur success

When a solopreneur starts out online, the amount of information and resources that are available and that need to be availed of, can definitely be overwhelming. A lot of what is advised by so-called “experts” and promoted by people and businesses that have their own agenda, is simply not required and are a waste of time in the beginning. Here are some of the high-priority requirements for any successful solopreneur:

  • A solid (yet brief) business plan: A good business plan does not need to be very detailed but as long as it serves as an evolving map for the solopreneur to reference, update and follow in order to help them succeed, it’s extremely helpful. It should summarise the basics of the business of a solopreneur, such as what it is, what it offers, defines the target market, defines business goals, costs and return on investment. The better the solopreneur can visualise the business, the better he/she can execute the required actions to be successful.
  • An eBusiness site: It is always advisable for any solopreneur, regardless of how big or small their business may be, to ensure it is properly represented in a professional manner online. This helps with the promotion of the business to its target markets and can increase sales depending on the product/service being offered by the solopreneur.
  • Research Tools: In order to minimise the amount of time, money and effort which is wasted in targeting the wrong markets or potential clients, it is a necessity to do as much research as possible. There are many online tools which allow the solopreneur to define their market, typical client demographic, market size and competition that exists. Typical research tools include Google’s Search-based keyword tool and Wordtrackers free keyword tool.
  • Autoresponder: If you want to improve your customer service, grow your business, increase sales/profits and build a solid customer base, then you need to invest in an autoresponder service such as iContact or Aweber. This online service will help with email management and help to build a list of interested subscribers (by offering an incentive, such as a free gift, report or eBook). Once an interested consumer has subscribed, a solopreneur can build on the relationship by sending them weekly newsletters containing product updates, discounts, new free resources, blog updates or anything else that may interest them.
  • Ad tracking software: Ad trackers allow you to test and refine your marketing strategy by keeping track of which ads bring the best and most traffic to your site. Ad tracking is important in order to identify which marketing strategies work and measure how well they are working. It’s therefore possible to invest much more time and money in the techniques that work and which have the highest return on investment.

Methods to overcome the challenges of being a Solopreneur

Being a solopreneur in any business can be overwhelming, daunting, time-consuming and can raise doubts about the success and viability of the business. When attempting to single-handedly do all tasks on behalf of any business, it can raise questions of doubt and fear, which can lead to indecision and procrastination. There are a number of ways, however, that these issues can be overcome, such as:

  1. Have a Mentor: Talk, share and consult with an industry expert, someone you respect and who has been through what a solopreneur goes through, is essential.
  2. Have a place/resource that inspires: Being able to go to “the place” you find inspirational is essential.
  3. Meditate: Being able to clear your mind and refocus is essential.
  4. Networking: A solopreneur should join like-minded groups both offline and online, that adds value to the business and interact with other solopreneurs.
  5. Attitude of gratitude: Remember to be grateful for who you are, what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve progressed.
  6. Work/Life balance: Ensure to maintain a balance physically, spiritually and mentally to help you be the best solopreneur you can be.

Solopreneurs must not think they can achieve ultimate success alone. Initially, it is the solopreneur that drives the business forward and establishes a clear focus and vision, but expansion should be expected, not only in terms of financial funds, but also in terms of people. Some solopreneurs, although hesitant, find it helpful to have a trusted advisor who can help mentor and guide them through the process. This trusted advisor be someone who has complementary skills and ideally, someone who has been on the same solopreneur journey a little longer. It should be someone who knows you well and is committed to the success of the solopreneur.

If you are a solopreneur and need help and advice with starting and/or managing an online business then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

Business benefits with a Mastermind Group

Leverage a Mastermind Group to fast track your business success

Mastermind Group

Mastermind Group

A Mastermind Group is a growing business phenomenon used for problem-solving, inspiration and motivation. The Mastermind Group itself is a group of like-minded positive thinking individuals who come together for the purpose of accomplishing any given task. The group will actively share and collaborate knowledge and information on how best to complete the defined task and this creates a synergy of energy, commitment and excitement between these like-minded people. Knowledge alone is not power, only potential power. The Mastermind Group creates a powerful synergy using organised knowledge expressed through intelligent efforts. These Mastermind groups help participants raise the bar by challenging each other to create and implement well defined attainable goals, brainstorm ideas and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Mastermind Group participants act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues. The Mastermind Group is like having a objective board of directors.

Characteristics and benefits of a Mastermind Group

The concept of the Mastermind Group was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900’s. In his timeless classic Think And Grow Rich which was based upon interviews of over 500 American millionaires across nearly 20 years, including such self-made industrial giants as Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison. The Mastermind Group principle is based on:

  1. The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.
  2. The fact that no two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.

Through a Mastermind Group, individuals can gain tremendous insights, which can improve their business and personal life. The mastermind group characteristics are as follows:

  • The agenda belongs to the group and each person’s participation is key.
  • The Mastermind Group participants give feedback, help brainstorm new possibilities, and set up accountability structures that keep each participant focused and on track. This creates a community of supportive colleagues who brainstorm together to move the group to new heights. Each Mastermind Group participant receives the following:
  1. Experience, skill and confidence.
  2. Real progress in both business and personal life.
  3. An instant and valuable support network of people available to help you succeed.
  4. The benefit of differing perspectives, input and feedback.
  5. The Mastermind Group can bring resources and connections to the table you might not have had on your own.
  6. Accountability and inspiration from the Mastermind Group, thus enabling you to maintain focus in achieving your goals.
  7. A sense of shared endeavor.
  8. The opportunity to design things to be the way you want them to be, not as you’ve been told they “should” be.

Mastermind Group Operation

  1. There are two basic types of Mastermind groups: One which is focused on the success and vision of one individual, and one that is focused on helping everyone in the group. The group type and purpose is the first thing to be defined.
  2. A Mastermind Group would consist of between 5 to 8 members and usually once a month either in person, on the telephone, or communicate via online discussion groups.
  3. It’s possible to locate and apply to join a Mastermind Group internationally or create a new mastermind group.
  4. Individual group members are usually screened to ensure that they’ll fit into the existing group and that they are committed, highly-motivated people who are willing to give and receive help and support.
  5. New Mastermind Group members are allowed into the group only with the unanimous consent of everyone in the group and providing that they have the following:
  • A personal or business mission or vision statement.
  • Have three and five-year goals.
  • Can find the time to participate in the Mastermind Group.
  • Are committed to moving forward in their business and personal life.
  • Can demonstrate why they should you be chosen to participate in that particular Mastermind Group.

Mastermind Group members who fail to to participate up to the group standard are asked to leave the group.

Mastermind Group Member Profiles

  1. All Mastermind Group participants should share a similar interest (such as a group for self-employed people, or a group for innovative thinkers, or a group for people in a certain sector/industry).
  2. Participants should have a similar skill and/or success level.
  3. Each Mastermind Group member should have the desire and inspiration to make that year extraordinary and to reach or exceed their defined goals.
  4. Participants should want a supportive team of Mastermind partners.
  5. Mastermind Group individuals should be ready to let their desire to be passionate about their life and work overcome their fear of change.

Since the publication of Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich book in 1937, the idea of Mastermind groups has grown and evolved to become a staple tool of successful individuals. However, a Mastermind Group is only as good as the people in it so, group participants should be carefully selected. However, a Mastermind Group creates a win-win situation for all participants. New friendships develop and everyone grows because of the support and encouragement of the Mastermind Group. Anyone who has either had great personal or business success have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the ‘Master Mind’ principle.

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or manage a small to medium size enterprise and need help and advice with starting a Mastermind Group, then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

Sharing and collaborating with Open Entrepreneurship

Open Entrepreneurship is sharing and collaborating on innovation

Open Entrepreneurship

Open Entrepreneurship

Open Entrepreneurship is an platform for open and free knowledge sharing. It initiates collaboration between entrepreneurs, innovators, companies, business leaders, students, universities and scientists. Open entrepreneurship inspires the future entrepreneurs of the world, by organising the world’s open knowledge on entrepreneurship and innovation. Open entrepreneurship encourages crowdsourced entrepreneurship, free and open sharing of information and experience in entrepreneurship. It also helps other entrepreneurs realise their dreams and visions. The ultimate goal of Open Entrepreneurship is to help solve our problems, and create a better world together. Open Entrepreneurship is both for SME’s and big business, as well as the lone minipreneur or visionary working on a grand idea.

Why and how does Open Entrepreneurship operate?

It is difficult for any single entrepreneur to implement a great idea alone. In order to address this specific problem, Open Entrepreneurship was created as a term, concept and web platform. By having an open approach to information sharing and focus on teamwork, it is possible to create open teams around ideas, while creating ways of building those teams in an open way so that everyone can still choose to take part in the economic return from the efforts. Open Entrepreneurship can also be non-profit, where an open team of crowdsourcing entrepreneurs attempt to solve a problem together, each adding their unique skills, resources and network connections.

Stages and benefits of Open Entrepreneurship

As opposed to closed entrepreneurship, where entrepreneurial innovation is controlled and processes such as production, marketing, distribution, servicing, financing, and support are managed and monitored by the entrepreneur and the team he/she surround themselves by, open entrepreneurship taps into the wisdom of the crowd. Open entrepreneurship works as follows:

  1. Entrepreneurial professionals showcase new ideas and innovations using the open entrepreneurship forum/platform
  2. In the process of the entrepreneur sharing the information and knowledge related to his idea/venture, they receive feedback, and collaborative contributions along with building their professional network.
  3. As knowledge and information related to the idea is shared and collaborated, the idea develops, is refined and the right resources are identified and contributed.
  4. Open entrepreneurship allows ideas and concepts to evolve and emerge through participation and contributions of a diverse audience.

At the core of open entrepreneurship is information, knowledge sharing and collaboration between creative, innovative and entrepreneurial minds. There is a market of knowledge which is not proprietary to any person, group or organisation. If entreprenurs and innovators can leverage the expert knowledge available to them through open entrepreneurship, the idea/venture has a much higher chance of being a success and being delivered to market in a very short time-frame. The knowledge that exists for the current innovative product/services on the market is held among the employees, suppliers, customers and competitors. If entrepreneurs and innovators do not use the knowledge they have inside the business, someone else will.

Any entrepreneur should only use open entrepreneurship to post ideas, new products, or services when they are comfortable with publicly contributing them. The open entrepreneurship concept is related both to Open Innovation, and the Open Source movement, but has its own properties that separates it from those two concepts.

If you want to know if Open Entrepreneurship could benefit your business, you as an entrepreneur, then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

Leveraging the features and functions of Intrapreneurship

What is Intrapreneurship?

Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship is the process where an employee within a large company acts like an entrepreneur within that organisation and takes responsibility for a turning a new concept into a finished product or service through calculated risk-taking and innovation. Intrapreneurship is a particular style of corporate management that integrates the characteristics of the entrepreneurship approach as well as the reward and motivational techniques employed i.e. it’s essentially corporate entrepreneurship. Intrapreneurship also encompasses employee initiatives in corporations to take on something new using their own initiative. Intrapreneurship allows an employee to think like an entrepreneur looking out for opportunities, which profit the organisation he/she works within.

The objectives of Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship focuses on innovation and creativity and transforms an idea into a profitable venture, while operating within the organisational environment. Intrapreneurship involves following the goal of the organisation. It is an example of motivation through job design, either formally or informally. Intrapreneurship is used by certain departments (such as Marketing, Engineering, R&D etc) to encourage, incentivise and motivate those employees involved in certain projects, to behave as internal entrepreneurs even though they have the resources, capabilities and security of the larger organisation to draw upon.
Intrapreneurship helps capture some aspects of the dynamic nature of entrepreneurial management (persistently attempting things until successful, learning from failures, attempting to conserve resources, etc). It adds to the potential of an otherwise static organisation, without exposing those employees to the risks or accountability normally associated with entrepreneurial failure.

Examples of Intrapreneurship

Many companies are famous for setting up internal organisations/groups whose primary purpose is to promote innovation within their organisation. Some companies are known for implementing innovative policies, fostering an inspirational atmosphere and having an intrapreneurship environment which helps bring products/services to market efficiently.  Some of the most well-known are:

Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works” Group: The group was first brought together in 1943 to build the P-80 fighter jet. Because the project was to eventually become a part of the war effort, the project was internally protected and secretive.
3M: They give certain freedom to intrapreneurs to create their own projects, and they even give them funds to use for these projects. Employees can spend their 15% time working on the projects they like for the betterment of the company. On the initial success of the project, 3M even funds it for further development.
Google: The search engine giant is also known to be intrapreneur friendly, allowing their employee to spend up to 20% of their time to pursue project of their choice.

How to foster Intrapreneurship within an organisation

  1. Build a dedicated team of both internal stars and external experts with deep domain experience in the category you will be competing in.
  2. Spend only the absolute minimum time required on actions or processes which don’t have a large impact on the project. Ensure to employ great people, locate them together in the one place and that they have a good space for open communication. Do spend time on selecting the most efficient process that meets your project needs.
  3. Be open about the new project operations to the remainder of the company to avoid internal resistance, to get the whole organisation behind the company, to obtain valuable feedback and recruit more volunteers to help out.
  4. Leverage all assets and resources available for the project within the organisation to ensure the project is a success. This may require work from other business units.
  5. Develop and validate the project for scale and success as quickly as is possible. However, always take time to assess both supply and demand.
  6. Enjoy the fruits of your labour. With intrapreneurship you get to spend more time focused on the product and less time on the administrative, IT, and back-office demands.

Intrapreneurship is meant to encourage employees to develop their own ideas, innovations, and techniques into solid plans of action that benefit the companies they work for. Though it may be easier to launch a product or service when backed by a corporation, intrapreneurship still involves a lot of work. There are no guarantees about being successful and being tied to the corporate entity you work for can also create a fear of failing due to job security. However, intrapreneurship can be as rewarding and as fulfilling as entrepreneurship. Risk-taking and innovation can certainly take place within the walls of an established corporation. Inrapreneurship can be used to leverage the skills, resources and experience internally within a company. Intrapreneurship also can also be used for knowledge transfer between external subject matter experts and employees. It also encourages employee interaction within the different divisions within their company. Startups resulting from companies which fostered intrapreneurship are inclined to concentrate more on business-to-business products.

If you are a business owner, intrapreneur or manage a small to medium size enterprise and need help and advice on how best to foster intrapreneurship to benefit the organisation, then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

The rise of the Parallel Entrepreneur

Is the Parallel Entrepreneur the ultimate entrepreneur?

Parallel Entrepreneur

The Parallel Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you are a parallel entrepreneur when you have two or more business ventures that you are developing and growing. The Parallel Entrepreneur is the person who simply can’t do one thing at a time. Typically, this type of entrepreneur will need and want to do multiple startups at the same time. Just as a serial entrepreneur starts one business at a time (in series), a parallel entrepreneur will start any number of businesses at the same time, in parallel. Parallel entrepreneurs are extremely tenacious, intelligent,  persistent and are a source of a never ending stream of good ideas. There are many entrepreneurs who would, if given the opportunity to operate in parallel, produce a number of interesting businesses. Being a parallel entrepreneur is becoming more commonplace as it makes sense to spread the risk and not place all hopes or focus on one business venture or enterprise.

Parallel Entrepreneur examples

Just as venture capitalists spread their risk across numerous business ventures, so do parallel entrepreneurs. Although the entrepreneurial trend seems to be leaning more towards being a successful parallel entrepreneur, it is less advantageous and more of a hinderence in attempting to be a parallel CEO.

  • Kevin Rose: Attempting to build a second company, Revision3, while still running Digg
  • Sam Yagan: Co-founded the file-sharing service eDonkey in 2002 and online dating site okCupid in 2003 (which was shuttered in late summer)
  • Scott Rafer: Former CEO of search engine feedster and now CEO of blog tracker; MyBlogLog, Co-founder of Mashery.com (stealth-mode company aiming to help Web developers) and chairman of WiFinder.com, a WiFi hotspot directory.
  • Google: Most companies with innovation department toy and doodle with different ideas and Google is an extreme case of parallel tracking.

 

Being a Parallel Entrepreneur

The essential part to being a successful parallel entrepreneur is getting the management part right. Each project, once launched, needs focus and attention. Automation of mundane repetitive administration and management tasks needs to be optimised as far as is possible. Once a parallel entrepreneur can make the administration and management part of each project work well, it’s definitely possible to continue operating as a parallel entrepreneur indefinitely (within human limitations). However, entrepreneurship in the general sense of the term is associated with enormous personal risk, particularly financial as well as relentless dedication and focus. Once the correct management structure for a parallel entrepreneur has been established, it’s a matter of focus and execution of each of the project ventures. Knowing how and what to prioritise, if and when problems arise can also be problematic. The work/life balance as a parallel entrepreneur may increase stress as a result of increased workloads and more additional management requirements. The successful execution of any idea is what is crucial.

Challenges in becoming a Parallel Entrepreneur

  1. It requires extraordinary focus to build each successful business as an entrepreneur’s time and attention is divided between projects.
  2. A parallel entrepreneur is perceived to work best in early stage projects.
  3. Some entrepreneurs would rate good decision making and profitability over multi-tasking and parrallel development and view the latter as stretching resources unsustainably thin.
  4. It’s a common misconception that it’s a requirement to have already succeeded at one startup in order to pursue the parallel entrepreneur model.
  5. A parallel entrepreneur is doing multiple things at once because they are using the portfolio of projects as a “hedge” against one or more of the other projects failing (diversifying out specific risk) as opposed to each project bringing value to the others.
  6. The parallel entrepreneur concept works well for startup and very early stage companies where there are few stakeholders and it is easy to maintain a coherent common vision.
  7. There are limitis on what a parallel entrepreneur can parallel on, as set by:
  • Financial capital
  • Mental processing power
  • Communication bandwidth
  • Execution capacity

Today’s definitions related to the resources required (time and capital) to create businesses that generate positive cashflow and potentially large growth will continue to evolve. A parallel entrepreneur can use their efforts in order to leverage off of each other and share momentum.

It’s not unusual for entrepreneurs never to stop thinking and engaging in different ventures. Modern technology entrepreneurs realise that they can leverage the services of the internet, combined with a smart workforce and the right resources to be more productive and efficient. It should be noted that building multiple products/services at the same time is different from building multiple businesses at the same time. The main difference is structure. A typical company may have multiple product areas, each with its own group, managers, engineers, etc. However, a parallel entrepreneur would ensure that each project venture would be a  legally separate entity for the sake of raising outside capital and isolating risk so that one project doesn’t bring down the rest.

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or manage a small to medium size enterprise and need help and advice with becoming a parallel entrepreneur then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

Appreneur – An evolved breed of tech entrepreneur

Why the Appreneur was born

Appreneur

Appreneur marketplace

The appreneur is an entrepreneur who designs and develops program applications for technology based gadgets. Most commonly for low-power handheld mobile devices such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or smart phones. An appreneur designs and develops these computer based program applications using proprietary technology. These applications are either pre-installed on phones during manufacture, or downloaded by customers from various mobile software distribution platforms. The soaring popularity of smart phones and the apps developed for them, put the skills and experience of the appreneur in great demand. These apps come in a variety of forms, from games to tools to software utilities such as, GPS apps, word-processing apps, email apps and social media apps. The most downloaded category of apps are as follows:

  1. Games
  2. Music
  3. Weather
  4. News
  5. Networking

The development environment for an Appreneur

Since apps are are specifically designed for certain devices using proprietary technology, an appreneur has to know what their target market is, to understand which platform they will be designing and developing the app for. Each of the platforms for mobile applications also has an integrated development environment which provides tools to allow an appreneur to write, test and deploy applications into the target platform environment. Although Apple is the dominant player in the app economy, there are many more to choose from, including those from BlackBerry, Microsoft, Google, Nokia, and Samsung. However, the most common development environments are:

  • Android: This is the development environment for mobile devices. Google and other members of the Open Handset Alliance collaborated on Android’s development and release. The Android operating system is the world’s best-selling Smartphone platform.
  • iOS: This is the development environment developed by Apple Inc. and released in February 2008 to develop native applications for iOS i.e. for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch etc.
  • Windows Mobile: This is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft that was used in smartphones and mobile devices.
  • Symbian: This is an operating system (OS) and software platform designed for smartphones and is currently maintained by Nokia.

 

Main distrubtion channels open to an Appreneur

For any of these low-power handheld mobile devices, you can’t just go to the store and buy a new piece of software for it. The device will only run “apps” purchased through it’s preferred distribution channel. For example, the iPhone or Ipad will only run apps purchased from the Apple App Store. There are a number of these application stores that an appreneur can distribute and sell their developed apps. These are the mobile vendor and mobile operator stores around the world. An appreneur publishes their applications on these stores, being rewarded by a revenue sharing of the selling price. The most famous app store is Apple’s App Store, where only approved applications may be distributed and run on iOS devices. While many of these apps are designed by an independent third-party appreneur, it’s not really free-reign. Apps for the iPhone and iPad can be made available at the sole discretion of Apple.

State of the App Economy

A successful appreneur can make a living creating and selling apps. These appreneurs are finding success far and wide. Today, the app market is worth over 3 billion. The process to design and develop an app for an appreneur is a lot more accessible compared to  software-programming at the beginning of the personal computing age. The app-community is currently a free-for-all of ideas and innovation, as long as Apple decides to let the appreneur sell their products within it’s App Store.

In order to be a successful appreneur, it takes the right resources, skills,  knowledge and ability. Any app created by an appreneur should be constantly evolving to gain momentum and maintain its success. Applications rarely cost more than a few euros (or the equivalent in other currencies) to download. Many are free. The best ways for an appreneur to generate revenue is to use one or more of the following models:

  1. In App purchase: The appreneur creates a game or application that has useful but limited functionality. If someone then wants to increase its usefulness, they can purchase upgrades from within the application.
  2. Advertising: Whilst the adverts can take up valuable screen space, this is another option of generating revenue from the App.
  3. Lite versions: The appreneur can develop a limited version of the application with basic functions leaving all the really juicy stuff for the paid for version.

No-one knows exactly how many appreneurs there are but the figure could run into tens of thousands. With so much intense competition to create a successful app, it’s become much harder to be a top seller.

If you are a budding appreneur and need resources, help and advice in the development of these mobile applications then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

No business like Microbusiness

Is your business a microbusiness?

Microbusiness

Microbusiness/MicroEnterpreise

A microbusiness/microenterprise is a type of small business, usually operated by one person, often unregistered, having five or fewer employees (in some cases no employees) and needing a very limited amount of seed capital. The definitions of a micro-business differ depednding on geographical region as the following criteria is commonly used to determine the validity of a  microbusiness:

  1. Number of employees
  2. Balance sheet total amount
  3. Turnover amount

Microbusinesses add overall value to a country’s economy by:

  • Creating jobs: A microbusiness creates opportunities for sub-contractors, freelancers and part-time staff
  • Enhancing income: The additional revenue generated by a microbusiness is be a welcome boost to any owner
  • Strengthening purchasing power: The ability for a microbusiness owner to buy in bulk or on behalf of their clients gives them more leverage as a potential recurring consumer
  • Lowering costs: A microbusiness would usually have very low fixed costs, no labor costs and can quickly adapt to changing consumer trends due to their size.
  • Adding business convenience: The setup of a microbusiness within any community which provides a much needed product/service is a welcomed convenience.

Initial challenges facing a new microbusiness

Any startup microbusiness typically has little to no access to the commercial banking sector, they often rely on “micro-loans” or microcredit in order to be financed. Small finance institutions often finance these small loans, particularly in the developing countries. Micro-loans are a way for organizations and entrepreneurs to make small loans to those in poverty often in third world countries. The term “micro-loans” is more commonly referred to as Microcredit. As it is commonplace for a microbusiness to have no employees other than the self-employed owners, they require a very limited amount of startup capital which they usually obtain from the smaller non-commercial financial institutions or through personal loans or governmental funding. It is normal for a microbusiness to focus their services on microentrepreneurs who are on low to moderate income. By definition, most of these entrepreneurs are minorities, recent immigrants, women, disabled or for other reasons have special challenges that reduce their ability to access traditional credit and other services.

How a microbusiness is used in disability recovery

Microbusiness can also be very beneficial and helpful when utilized as a therapeutic tool for helping people who for many reasons cannot efficiently participate in typically rigid work environments, i.e. 9 to 5 / 40 hours per week. A microbusiness gives a person who has a disability the flexibility to attend appointments or treatments when scheduled therefore avoiding potential conflicts arising within normal working environments. A microbusiness would give people with a disability, business networking options within the community that differ greatly from the medical or treatment mode that they may have become restricted to. Disabled business owners often report an increased feeling of self-worth or an emotional equity that becomes an enhancement to their current treatment. There are many government backed schemes which provide financial support with funding a microbusiness being one of those work goals for disabled or unemployed people. In general, most businesses who participate in any government-backed schemes are initially a microbusiness themselves, as they have limited capital and begin with only one person involved in the business.

Operating a microbusiness in developing countries

In developing or third-world countries, microbusinesses make up the majority of the small business sector. This is a direct result of the relative lack of formal sector jobs available for the poor. These microbusiness owners have little or no other option but to operate and manage their microbusiness as a necessity for them and their family. It’s easy to understand why microbusinesses in developing countries tend to be the most frequent form/size of business. These microbusiness owners would gladly take a formal job at reasonable pay if those jobs existed and were available.

A microbusines can be beneficial in many different ways to minipreneurs but since they are so very small with limited resources, they do face many challenges. The microbusiness owner will essentially be a single point of failure for that microbusiness so it is essential a build a support network and a wealth of support resources which can be referenced.

If you are a potential or existing microbusiness owner and need help and advice with management and development of your microbusiness then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation!

Who wants to be a Minipreneur?

How to define a minipreneur

Minipreneur

Minipreneur

A minipreneur is any one person venture or enterprise whose business is based on the expert knowledge or experience that person has and how they can leverage the internet in order to buy, sell or market their products or services. As world internet usage continues to increase, it creates an ever growing market of consumers who take advantage of opportunities to make money in a variety of different ways.

Minipreneur methods and examples

Every single person has knowledge and experience and based on an individuals experiences and detailed knowledge in a specific area, they are an expert in this niche. A Minipreneur takes advantage of their expert knowledge and uses it to build a successful small business. The steps a minipreneur would take to start, would be:

  1. Define their expert knowledge and skills they have to offer
  2. Decide on a business idea which can utilise this expert knowledge and experience
  3. Produce or source the product or service involved
  4. Target a niche market which has a definite interest in the product or service
  5. Sell the product or service effectively as a minipreneur to the target market

Once a minpreneur has completed the above steps, they have made the successful transition from online consumer to minipreneur who now caters to their online marketplace. Examples of these minpreneur businesses would be:

  • Micro businesses: Smaller than a small business with typically less than 5 employees
  • Freelancers: This type of minipreneur would typically work on a short-term contract basis
  • Web-driven entrepreneurs: Entrepreneur who creates purely web based services or product applications
  • Part-timers: Hobbyists who thrive in entrepreneurial ventures only on a part-time basis
  • Free agents: Professionals whose contracts have expired or who work independently for themselves.
  • Cottage businesses: Usually home-based, small-scale business completed by family members using their own equipment.
  • Seniorpreneurs: Senior/Older Entrepreneurs (typically 45+)
  • Co-creators: Experienced and creative consumers who create goods, services and experiences in association with corporations.
  • Mompreneurs: A female who balances two roles, as Mother and Entrepreneur
  • Pro-ams: Most commonly refers to professional/amateur or semi-professional (semi-pro) athletes in various sports.
  • Solopreneurs: Independent entrepreneur who has no other employees but themselves in the small business.
  • eBay traders: People who trade product/services using the eBay marketplace.
  • Advertising-sponsored bloggers: Essentially online writers who are financially supported by advertisers (based on online traffic of the blog)

Top reasons to become a minipreneur

While some people accidentally fall into the role of being a minpreneur, others take it up as an alternative interest or hobby and some operate as a minipreneur out of necessity, the most common reasons for being a minipreneur are:
Independence: Location, financial, lifestyle and career wise, being a minipreneur provides these options to the business opportunist.
Fashionable: There’s an admirable stigma associated with being an enterprising minipreneur and there’s a lot less work involved with much higher chances of business success, if the right online tools are levarged correctly.
Resources: Minipreneurs have a highly-developed network of intermediaries, tools and processes at their disposal to optomise productivity and efficiency of their business processes.
Business agility: A minipreneur can cater to changing markets and evolving trends more quickly than a larger organisation.

16 Minipreneur businesses

  1. Ebay Sales
  2. Blogging
  3. Podcasting
  4. Online stores
  5. Online training/mentoring/tutoring
  6. Researcher
  7. Copywriter
  8. Affiliate Sales
  9. Consultant
  10. Transcription services
  11. Translation services
  12. Billing services
  13. Lifestyle coaching
  14. Author
  15. Inventor
  16. Motivational coaching

To be a minipreneur, you must be computer savvy enough to basically be the IT department for your business. It is a requirement for the minipreneur to understand and/or troubleshoot technical problems. Also essential is the need to keep upto date and monitor tech trends, set up an eBusiness site, establish an online profile and have a list or resources which are reliable in assisting you online.

If you are an established minipreneur or would like to become a successful minipreneur, then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation!

A Mompreneur – The Mother and Entrepreneur

Characteristics of a Mompreneur

Mompreneur

The Mompreneur

A mompreneur, as the name suggests, is a mother who is an entrepreneur. Being a full-time parent is challenging enough, however, there are many  female entrepreneurs who are parents and run their own businesses.  Usually, the mompreneur is more likely to run a business out of the home, than out of a commercial building. However, the professional and personal roles which a mompreneur takes on are not in any particular order i.e. a mompreneur could be a mother who happens to be an entrepreneur or vice versa. A typical mompreneur has obvious family obligations but has to balance those against the requirements of running a new or existing business. A mompreneur tries to complete the bulk of their business work during the time when their children do not require as much attention. Being or becoming a mompreneur is now much easier due to the advantages which the internet affords them and their family life. This relatively new trend in entrepreneurship is explored, with examples, in this article.

Where, how and why to be a Mompreneur

In general, due to family demands, location, time and financial restrictions imposed on mothers, a mompreneur generally operates from home and commercially trades their products and/or services online. The business sector that a typical mompreneur  gets involved in is more commonly the same line of work as they had before having children. They remotely log into office networks and telecommute, if and when it is necessary. A full-time working mother becomes a mompreneur because she:

  • Wants to generate some additional revenue in her spare time
  • Needs more flexible working arrangements
  • Wants to be location independent so that she has the option of working from home or on the go

Advantages of being an online Mompreneur

Combining the role of being a caring mother with the challenge of being an entrepreneur is often a consuming and stressful lifestyle change. There are, however,  many examples of individuals who have successfully balanced family nurturing and home-business management at the same time. This benefited mother and family in the following ways:

Childcare: Adequate daily childcare can be very expensive, whether it’s in the home or nursery.
Wardrobe: Even in a “business/casual dress” office, you need work clothing and possibly dry cleaning. Being a mompreneur removes the need for any dress code.
Commuting: Reducing or eliminating commuting can be time and cost efficient as it eliminates fuel, maintenance insurance and tax costs.
Food: Removing the need to buy lunch at work or grab premium coffees on the way saves more whilst home-based meal plans are healthier and more enjoyable.

8 inspirational Mompreneur examples

  1. Lauren Horsley – supermomcentral.blogspot.com: Mother of 3  and parenting blogger at SuperMom Central  giving tips, tricks, and tidbits for the aspiring Supermom
  2. Jessica Eaves Mathews – jessicaeavesmathews.com: Inspired entrepreneur, research junkie, devoted mother and advocate for women in business.
  3. Laura Watson – venturecoaching.ca: Mother, business coaching and leadership development company
  4. Cheryl Woodhouse – crunchybusiness.com: Growing mompreneurship, one woman at a time to help moms with businesses and ideas make a difference while making a living.   
  5. Sarah Davis, FashionPhile.com: Mother of four children and lover of handbags. 
  6. Kimber Christensen, etsy.com/shop/littlesaplingtoys: This mother started her shop on etsy.com and now sells her sapling developmental wooden toys full time.
  7. Stacy DeBroff, momcentralconsulting.com: Mother of two, helps brands communicate effectively with the average mom.
  8. Laura Berg, mysmarthands.com/Site/Baby_Sign_Language: Teaches parents to learn American sign language, in person or online, to speak with infants and the hearing-impaired.

In addition to the many pressures and stresses absorbed by modern mothers, it takes all kinds of moms to create and sustain the innovative businesses detailed above. As new niche markets are continually being revealed, there’s endless opportunities for the determined mompreneur.

If you are interested in becoming a mompreneur or already are a mompreneur but need help and advice with starting an online business then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

Online content monetisation

Overview of monetisation methods

Monetisation

Monetisation methods

Online content monetisation is the process of generating revenue from online content in exchange for informational product(s), service(s). More frequently content owners and publishers (such as bloggers, site owners, social media enthusiasts) focus on a single revenue stream – often advertising, download sales or paid subscriptions in an effort to minimise the adminsistration and management associated with their monetisation efforts. But the most monetisation techniques involve driving multiple revenue streams from their content. This is more time consuming to optimise and track all monetisation methods used but can be very rewarding.

Comparisons of online and offline monetisation methods

Most common online monetisation methods are similar to those used by offline businesses, such as:

  • Subscriptions
  • Display advertisements
  • Classified advertisements
  • Shared revenue deals
  • Product and service sales
  • Sponsorship

All of the above offline monetisation methods (and many more) have been replicated online. There are literally hundreds of monetisation method available which provide publishers and content owners with multiple revenue streams. All of these monetisation methods can essentially be grouped under the following the following main categories:

1: Marketing: Monetisation by becoming an affiliate of third party advertisers and marketing their product/service using referral programs. Examples include:

  • Clickbank: One of the most common affiliate  retailer programs online. Monetisation occurs when affiliates promote or sell something from the thousands of items available.
  • Commission Junction: If you have a site, you can join Commission Junction. Once enrolled for free, you can choose companies whose ads are pertinent to your site. Companies have the ultimate say on working with affiliates.
  • Amazon Affiliate Program: Easily create a store or shopping section on your site instead of sending your visitors to Amazon. Amazon handles the shopping cart and fulfillment.

2: Sales: Monetisation via direct and indirect sales of eBooks, Podcasts etc. Examples include:

  • Cafepress: You provide a design, they’ll put it on a t-shirt, hat, etc. No upfront costs. Get a free online shop and promote your products on your site.
  • eBay Stores: If you have a real store and want to sell your stock online, this is a decent option to get you started.
  • Zlio: Setup an online store and never have to worry about shipping or inventory. They handle it all for you.

3: Advertising: Monetisation by allowing third party advertisements such as Google Adsense to be displayed on your site. Examples include:

  • Infolinks: Infolinks is probably the highest paying option for your in-text advertising. Infolinks will be displayed as underlined links scattered throughout articles. They accept all sizes of websites and blogs.
  • Azoogleads: Another ad program. They do have some decent companies lined up as advertisers. You provide space, they’ll provide an ad.
  • Adbrite: Site owners can buy and sell text ads based on their site’s topic area.

4: Products: Monetisation of online products such as images, videos, webinars etc. Examples include:

  • InnerSell: If you have a customer that wants to buy something you cannot sell, you can sell the lead at Innersell.
  • Revver: You basically upload your video to Revver and they attach an ad to it. You get 50% of what the ad makes.
  • Shopping.com: Add widgets to your site that display products based on keywords. For the ultra-skilled, you can even customise the entire user experience by tapping into their API.

5: Services: These are services you can offer or provide to vendors. Examples include:

  • ReviewMe: In order to participate, you must have a blog and it has to be active. Companies go to ReviewMe to advertise a product and ReviewMe asks their members to write a review of the product in exchange for payment.
  • Ether.com: If you are an expert on something, Ether provides a way for people to pay you to talk about it in a one-on-one setting. You have to do all the advertising so you should have a blog or site already established.
  • Bitwine: Another type of advisor network. If you are an expert or even mildly knowledgeable on something, Bitwine provides a way for you to set a per minute rate and charge people to talk to you in a private meeting space.

 

Best monetisation advice

Although many of the monetisation methods mentioned above are based on working on behalf of or with a third party vendor, the best and most profitable methods of monetisation should be the direct sales of your own products and/or services. It’s also advisable to deal directly with potential advertising clients and remove any third party advertising intermediary would would be taking a high commission.

Online monetisation points to note

Online content monetisation is the fastest growing area of online business. Currently, much of the content online is free but there is an ever-growing trend for content publishers to build audiences and target specific niche markets, using a range of monetisation techniques. This maximises margins and increases profits. The following ethical issues can also be very challenging:

  • Blending your content with the advertisements you are paid to promote
  • Being honest and credible with your target market when you are promoting products/services on behalf of  a third party based on the revenue paid.

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or manage a small to medium size enterprise and need help and advice on online monetisation methods, then contact eCubation today for a FREE consultation.

* Clickbank – One of the most common affiliate products retailer programs online. They have thousands of items available for affiliates to promote and sell.
* Commission Junction – If you have a site, you can join Commission Junction. Once enrolled for free, you can choose companies whose ads are pertinent to your site. Companies have the ultimate say on working with affiliates.
* Amazon Affiliate Program – Easily create a store or shopping section on your site instead of sending your visitors to Amazon. Amazon handles the shopping cart and fulfillment.