Study Shows Self-Employed Most Happy in Their Occupation

Two recent articles report that business owners and the self-employed are the most happy in their occupations. The results are from a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll data. The findings, psychologists say, reflect the importance of being free to choose the work you do and how you do it, the way you manage your time, and the way you respond to adversity. Regardless of occupational field, the survey suggests that seeking out enjoyable work and finding a way to do it

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Lean Startup Dinner with Eric Ries

Last night I attended the Lean Startup Dinner with Eric Ries hosted by TechStars. If you’re not familiar, Eric writes the Lessons Learned blog and actively promotes ideas for running lean startups based on his experiences. I’m particularly fond of the minimum viable product (MVP) concept and have been using that from the beginning with my company’s new product, StatsMix. The essential idea behind MVP is to determine as early as possible the core set of features that solves a

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Lessons Learned from a Screencast Business

Geoffrey Grosenbach runs a company called PeepCode Screencasts that produces outstanding screencasts for learning a variety of programming topics mainly around Ruby on Rails. I’ve purchased a bunch of them and they’ve all been fantastic learning tools. Recently he posted a transcript of a presentation he gave on the lessons learned from three years of running PeepCode. One skill that is important is being able to respond to change. I frequently think back to a quote I saw in a

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How Social Media Really Works

Great thoughts on building your products from A Whole Lotta Nothing: So maybe instead of getting your company on twitter, paying marketers to mention you are on twitter, and paying people to blog about your company, forget all that and just make awesome stuff that gets people excited about your products, hire people that represent the company well, and when your stuff is so awesome that friends share it with other friends, you may not even need “social media marketing”

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Startup Revival Plans to Archive Failed Companies

Startup Revival is a recently launched site that is attempting to catalogue failed startup companies so all entrepreneurs can learn from their mistakes. I love the concept and they recently added my story of EvolvePoint’s failure. Do you have a company with a great foundation, but it just didn’t work? Or do you have an idea that’s collecting dust? Don’t let your great ideas go to waste. We want to hear about them. It looks like you can register and

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More ways to kill your business

I’ve been trying to write about the lessons learned from the failure of my last company (albeit quite slowly) and I read a post this morning from Mike McDerment of FreshBooks that covers some similar topics. His post is titled 7 ways I’ve almost killed FreshBooks and I can second every single point he makes. Luckily for FreshBooks, they’re still around and thriving. I especially appreciated his first point – “Thinking we had to move faster than we did” As entrepreneurs, we tend to immediately

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Lessons From a Failed Startup: Create Administration Tools Early

The lessons learned from the failure of my company are going to be in no particular order, so I decided to start with one that I’m already applying to my next project – creating admin tools as early as possible. With FeedCraft, we took the approach of getting the application launched as quickly as possible with the main features we needed (which I think was wise, but I’ll have some thoughts on this in later posts). In the rush to

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Identifying your passions for success

I woke up on my birthday this past Saturday morning and thought about the day ahead. What did I want to do today? I think it says a lot about where your passions lie, when on a day you can legitimately do most anything you want (a birthday and a Saturday), on how you plan your activities. For me, far in advance I knew I wanted to go climbing. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating. Apart from climbing, I really

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Lessons From a Failed Startup: The Overview

Many say you learn more from your failures than your successes. I believe this to be absolutely true in business as well as most other aspects of life. And you can also learn quite a bit from the stories of failures from others. So, as promised when I announced that my company was shutting down, I’ll be posting a collection of thoughts on what I feel are some of the big learning lessons in this experience of running an Internet

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The advantages of being a student entrepreneur

The other day I had the opportunity to have coffee with a student entrepreneur from Virginia Tech. This is the second such meeting in a month and I hope it’s a sign of future trends. Over the past two semesters, I’ve met with three entrepreneurs, all at the end stages of their undergraduate education, and all were pondering this decision – take a “regular” job or start my own business. In my opinion, the decision is a no-brainer. Follow your

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