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The Startup Money Hunt: When Entrepreneurs Bring In Investors (Infographic)

The Startup Money Hunt: When Entrepreneurs Bring In Investors (Infographic)

Giving away portions of the company you poured your blood, sweat and tears into may be painful. But, as an entrepreneur, selling equity in your startup for cash can be financially beneficial.

Many successful startup entrepreneurs follow a well-worn series of stages in their quest for funding from a first friends-and-family round, moving on to a seed investment and later a venture capital investment. As a business grows and becomes more successful, investors often become willing to invest greater sums in exchange for increasingly smaller amounts of equity.

The infographic below, from San Francisco-based startup community organization Funders and Founders, breaks down the funding path of a successful entrepreneur, from idea to initial public offering.

 

Regulators Wrangle Over How to Protect Crowdfunding Investors

Regulators Wrangle Over How to Protect Crowdfunding Investors

At the heart of the debate over how to write the rules for the next generation of crowdfunding is how much regulators should seek to protect small investors.

Under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, known as the JOBS Act, small investors would be able to invest only a portion of their net worth. What rulemakers can’t agree on is how to determine an investor’s net worth.

One option is to have investors report their own net worth, a route known as “self attestation.”

Another alternative is having crowdfunding portals or a third-party, such as a broker or accounting firm, verify the net worth of potential investors and have an independent database track all equity-crowdfunding investments. The Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.

Either option has its shortcomings. Self-attestation would effectively render the small-investor protection clause of the law toothless. “The debate comes down to this: Do we care about the part of the law that says you are limited to how much you can give?” says David Marlett, founder and executive director of the National Crowdfunding Association, an industry advocacy group.

The alternative, which require determining an individual’s net worth, would be a complex process that could potentially derail the immediacy of equity crowdfunding, says Marlett, who has been involved in rulemaking discussions with lawmakers, regulators and industry advocates. Many investors would likely object to having an agency examine their assets and debts to assign a net worth, he says.

“You would kill everything, grind it to a stop, you might as well not even let any unaccredited investors [crowdfund],” says Marlett. “Crowdfunding is an instantaneous, ‘Hey, I want to go help this,’ kind of deal, not, ‘Hey, I want you to help me crowdfund, but here are these six forms you got to fill out and you’ve got to show your tax returns.’ For what? $500. ‘Sorry, no, thanks. See ya!’ ” says Marlett.

However, if everyone is eligible to declare their own net worth without documentation, small investors may be able to effectively circumvent any investing limits. “If the SEC goes with a system based on self-certification, they will have abandoned their responsibility,” says Barbara Roper, director of investor protections at the Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Federation of America. Congress was clear, she says, that it wanted to include rules protecting small investors from losing their life’s savings.

“If they can’t offer crowdfunding in a way that is responsible and limits potential harm to investors, then it shouldn’t exist,” says Roper. “In crowdfunding, we say that anybody can invest in these most speculative of companies, most of which, through no fraud or ill-will, will fail. And we are going to let average Americans risk their retirement savings on these kinds of investments, and the least we should do is put some restrictions around that to minimize potential losses,” she says. She supports a system with an independent net worth verification and a database to track all crowdfunding pledges.

Currently, equity crowdfunding is limited to accredited investors, typically wealthy individuals and institutions. Opening online equity crowdfunding to anyone with cash and willingness is one of most popular provisions of the JOBS Act. The SEC has already missed rulemaking deadlines established when the bill was passed in April last year.

Marlett also supports having an independent third party maintain a database. In his plan, net worth would be self-reported to a central database, which would also track investor pledges on all crowdfunding portals. The database would ping regulators when small investors try to invest more than permitted under the still-to-be written rules. The portals would be required to register with the database. He says that this system could still, admittedly, be gamed, but it would serve as a “speed bump” in slowing down fraudsters, who Marlett calls “smile-and-dial” guys, seeking to persuade small investors to part with their money.

In the end, Marlett expects the SEC to opt for self-attestation, but he says he will continue to push for a third-party pinging system. “We do have a choice. I have been in those rooms, those bullpens with the smile-and-dial guys. I know how they are. And if you can slow them down, it can make a difference, a significant difference,” Marlett says.

 

Olaplex’s New Hair Mask Gave Me Incredible Shine—And It’s 20% Off Right Now

Olaplex’s New Hair Mask Gave Me Incredible Shine—And It’s 20% Off Right Now

After two years without bleaching and a year of irregular trips to the salon, my hair is almost the longest it’s ever been. I’m thrilled with the length, but over-washing has left me with dry, damaged ends. I also pull my fine hair up into a tight ponytail on a daily basis, which has resulted in some minor breakage. And since cutting it all off isn’t an option, (I tried a bob once and cried for months), I decided to see if Olaplex’s new No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask could help repair my strands. Spoiler alert: It did, and it’s currently 20% off thanks to Sephora’s Spring Sale.

Not to be confused with the brand’s No.3 Hair Perfector, the ever-popular at-home treatment that strengthens hair by repairing broken disulfide bonds, the new No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask is specifically designed to add shine, moisture and body to damaged hair. It’s also Olaplex’s first-ever true hair mask.

I was first introduced to Olaplex years ago by a colorist, when my hair was literally breaking off due to excessive bleaching. The No.3 Hair Perfector, the No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and the No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner were all instrumental in repairing my extremely damaged hair, and I’m constantly recommending the brand’s products to my friends and family.

Needless to say, I had very high hopes for the new mask. Especially once I learned about its ingredients. In addition to containing Olaplex’s patented Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate in its formula, which is the key player in the brand’s signature bond-building technology, the Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask is infused with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil and rosehip seed extract to help with shine and hydration.

Why Writers Should Embrace Their Weird Side

Why Writers Should Embrace Their Weird Side

I was always going to be a writer. Well, that or the next vampire slayer, but I was never called, so writing became my calling. In ninth grade, I was sure I would be the kind of writer who changed lives and made a positive impact on the world. I only read classic literature and books like The Alchemist and The Celestine Prophecy, and I wrote poetry. Really bad poetry. And I was weird.

The day the teacher told her class to open their textbooks to a page featuring a photograph of the Giza Plateau, she had no way of knowing the quiet new girl was obsessed with the Great Pyramid. She hadn’t seen the cross-sectional diagrams detailing the structure scribbled into the margins of every notebook I owned, complete with hidden shafts and star orientations above. She did the absolute worst possible thing she could do. She asked the class if anyone knew what we were looking at. I took a deep breath, raised my hand in a tentative, jerky motion, and decided to speak for the first time in the weeks we’d been meeting. When she called on me, I felt my cheeks burn and my stomach twist as my adrenaline spiked. I launched into a full-on diatribe about perfect angles, constellations, ancient civilizations, historical cover-ups, and the potential for life on other planets. Halfway through my speech, I made a fatal error. I looked up. The entire class was staring slack-jawed in my direction. I trailed off to a stutter, then to awkward silence, and the class followed suit. It was the kind of silence that thickens the air.

Haven’t Written Anything Yet, Writing for Beginners

Haven’t Written Anything Yet, Writing for Beginners

10 Tips for Effective Networking at a Writer’s Conference

Nervous about connecting with other writers and publishing professionals at your next writer’s conference? John Peragine has 10 tips on how to network effectively and get the most out of your experience.

Nervous about connecting with other writers and publishing professionals at your next writer’s conference? John Peragine has 10 tips on how to network effectively and get the most out of your experience. 

I encourage both novice writers and veteran ones to attend writer’s conferences. I have learned so much, connected to some great people, and connected to literary agents and publishers by attending. For many writers, the experience can be both exciting and overwhelming. They find themselves surrounded by so many people who love reading, and most importantly, writing. It can make you feel small and insignificant, but read on and I will reveal a secret.

Writers are not always good with large crowds or stepping out to introduce themselves. Our work is a solitary one, with just you and the page. And of course, the occasional furry friend as a companion. It is my belief the we need to connect with other writers to provide a network of support, friendship, context to our work, and mutual understanding. Who knows better what a writer goes through daily than another writer?

In May of this year, I presented a session on the 20 rules of effective networking. It was during the lunch break, so I figured that a few people would grab a quick bite to listen. To my surprise and delight, the room was full of people wanting to know how to network better. Below are my top 10 tips of effective networking at writing conferences.

8 Popular Blog Niches That Drive Traffic and Make Money (That Aren’t About Blogging Tips)

8 Popular Blog Niches That Drive Traffic and Make Money (That Aren’t About Blogging Tips)

You see a lot of popular blogs out there, right?

Want to start a blog because you hear about how amazing it is?

You probably read popular blogs and wondering how they make money eh?

And even better – there are even mom bloggers making money blogging! Yes, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can start a mom blog!

So, I thought I’d share some of the most popular blogs for you. You may have been learning that the ONLY way blogs make money is if you….blog about blogging.

That’s not the case.

My other blog helps people become a freelance writer. It’s strictly a service-based blog and that provides most of my income.

I know so many other bloggers that don’t blog about blogging that are making a full-time income doing this. Let’s look at eight blog niches that you can start today and make money doing it!

These types of blogs are killing it!

Want to start your own mom blog that makes money? Check out my free course on starting a mom blog!

18 BLOG POST IDEAS FOR BEGINNERS FROM DAY ONE ONWARDS

18 BLOG POST IDEAS FOR BEGINNERS FROM DAY ONE ONWARDS

As a new blogger it can be difficult to know where to begin. You may be fully inspired to start writing and get your blogging journey underway and that’s great. One problem though… what should you write about as your opening gambits? The following then offers a series of blog post ideas for beginners to help you get your journey underway.

This isn’t a post exclusively for brand new bloggers, but if you’re a seasoned blogger looking for inspiration, this may not set your world on fire. Instead, you might want to check out some of my other posts to help unleash your creative beast:

If you’re a new blogger, the above posts might also provide ideas for posts, but the list here is specifically for beginners bloggers starting out and so are more specifically designed to help you.

So , without further preamble, here is my list of blog post ideas for new bloggers.

18 Blog Post Ideas for Beginners

1. Introduce Yourself

You should really have an About page for your blog that provides a little bit of background about you. Your About page doesn’t necessarily need to be especially detailed, since it’s an overview of you really.

Why not make an early blog post a detailed one about you? Use your about page as a skeleton and put more flesh onto it is a specific blog post that explains more about you?

A longer blog post specifically about you gives you the chance to show people who you are and what your personality is like, in a more relaxed way than your About page.

2. Why You Started a Blog

Another way to show something personal about yourself is to write a post about why you’ve started a blog. What do you want to achieve through blogging? What are the things that drive you to committing to a blog right at the start of your journey? These are the types of things that explain your motivation and provide another way for you to give your blog identity.

3. Your Blogging Commitment

This might seem like a similar idea for a blog posts as the one above, but you could write specifically what you’ll be blogging about and what people can expect from you. When will you publish posts? What types of posts can visitors expect from every week?

Revealed: Which are the Most Popular Types of Blogs?

Revealed: Which are the Most Popular Types of Blogs?

When starting a blog, one of the most common questions you might think of is which are the most popular types of blog? There are many different types of blogs covering a wide range of topics, interests, and audiences. For a successful blog, you need to plan ahead and choose the niche that works for you. In this article, we will share the most popular types of blogs that you can start right away.

What Should You Blog About?

To decide the niche of your blog, you need to know about your passion. Every niche has its own audience who search for content related to their interests. Writing about your passion helps you continuously come up with great content ideas as your blog grows.

You don’t just need to plan for content. You also need to choose a WordPress themeoptimize for SEO, and improve performance of your site. These are the tasks that are not directly related to writing but equally important for the success of your blog.

Let’s take a look at the most popular types of blogs that exist:

1. Fashion Blogs

Fashion blogs are one of the most popular types of blogs on the internet. It’s a big industry with a huge global audience. Fashion bloggers get invited to major events, receive special perks, merchandise, and even business deals by top fashion brands.

Fashion Blogs

These types of blogs are good for creative people with a keen eye for style and fashion. You can start a fashion blog and start making money online by following our guide.

2. Food Blogs

Food blogs are another popular blog type. It attracts a lot of readers who are interested in recipes, ingredients, healthy eating, fine dining, and other food related stories.

Food Blogs

Many food bloggers just start with something as simple as their local restaurant reviews. However, as their blog grows so does their interests and target audience. They start covering other food related topics as well. Take a look at our guide on how to start a food blog.

3. Travel Blogs

Travel blogs are becoming more popular each day. Due to cheap air travel, people are traveling more than ever, and they are always looking for travel tips, advice, and destination guides.

Travel Blogs

These blogs make it easy for other travelers to learn about a destination they have never been to. If you are a traveler, then we recommend you to create your travel blog.

4. Music Blogs

Music blogs has a wide audience who search for critiques on the best and trending music. Music lovers enjoy songs from different languages, cultures and norms.

Music Blogs

The music industry has big potential for bloggers to write about different types of music like jazz, pop, heavy metal, famous singers, and more.

5. Lifestyle Blogs

Lifestyle blogs are the most popular type of blogs you can find online. They have a variety of readers, interested in topics ranging from culture, arts, local news, and politics. This gives the blogger a wide range of topics to cover, making it easier to plan their content strategy.

Lifestyle Blogs

Lifestyle bloggers get opportunities to be an influencer, write for other publications, become a speaker, and partner with businesses who are working to make a difference in the society.

6. Fitness Blogs

Fitness blogs has been a hot trend since they cover important topics like health and general fitness. People all over the world rely on the internet to seek advice on how to stay fit. It’s a great opportunity for fitness instructors to start a fitness blog and get clients online.

Fitness Blogs

These types of bloggers/instructors write about diets, diet plans, workouts, supplements, and more. Fitness bloggers can also create video content to explain different exercises to their audience. They can monetize their website and videos using Google AdSense and affiliate marketing.

7. DIY Blogs

DIY blogs are very interesting and have a huge audience. It has multiple sub-types like arts and crafts, construction, wood-work, metal-work and more.

DIY Blogs

These interesting DIY activities would encourage visitors to try new stuff and share it with the trainer/blogger. DIY blogs may involve a lot of communication which is great for blogging.

8. Sports Blogs

Sports blogs are another interesting type of blogs online. Every country in the world has different sports and every sport has its own stars. Sports blogging may also include bloggers who are writing paid content for teams, athletes, and other organizations.

Sports Blogs

The other format in sports blogging is to write about latest events all over the world. Furthermore, bloggers share live status of multiple sports on their Twitter accounts automatically linked to the blogs.

9. Finance Blogs

A lot of us need help and advice to manage our finances efficiently. This gives finance blogs a wide audience ranging from serious investors to families trying to save for a better future.

Finance Blogs

Personal finance blogs share advice for businesses, investors, startups, individuals and families. It’s a good blog niche for the people interested in the complex world of managing money and generating wealth.

10. Political Blogs

Political blogs have perhaps the most passionate audience of all. They cover news on politics, analysis of political news, and can quickly build a very large engaging audience.

Political Blogs

It has become common for the big political affiliates to hire their own blogging team. These bloggers share the agenda of the political party and write about their policies / plans to attract more people towards the representatives.

17 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid in 2021, According to HubSpot Bloggers

17 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid in 2021, According to HubSpot Bloggers

Sometimes, when I tell people that I blog for a living, they roll their eyes. “That’s so easy,” they say. “You get a paycheck for sitting on the internet all day and writing. A monkey could do your job!”

That’s when I roll my eyes. See, people are quick to deem blogging as a no-brainer job. But when they actually sit down to write their first couple of posts, it hits them: This is way harder than I thought. Like any person starting a new job, they mess things up.

That’s okay — it happens to pretty much every new blogger. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to avoid these roadblocks if you know they’re coming.

So for all of you beginner bloggers out there who are looking to get up-to-speed quickly, keep on reading. Below are common mistakes most beginners make and some tips on how to avoid them.

What Is a Blog?

Simply put, a blog is a tool that can help develop an online presence, attract leads, and engage with an audience. It’s often a series of editorial content centered around a central topic that demonstrates industry expertise — for instance, a catering company might write blog posts like “The 11 Best Appetizers to Serve to a Crowd” or “Stress-Free Dinner Parties: Recipes that are Prepared Ahead of Time”.

Blogs can help drive traffic to your website, convert that traffic into leads, establish authority in your industry, and ultimately grow your business. In fact, organizations are 13x more likely to see positive ROI by prioritizing blogging.

  1. Create blog posts that serve your larger company goals.
  2. Identify what resonates with your audience.
  3. Write like you talk.
  4. Show your personality; don’t tell it.
  5. Make your point again and again.
  6. Start with a very specific working title.
  7. Specific posts should still tie into the bigger picture.
  8. Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.
  9. Give your audience something to walk away with.
  10. Use data and research to back up the claims you make in your posts.
  11. Use examples to back up why what you’re saying is important.
  12. When drawing from others’ ideas, cite them.
  13. Take 30 minutes to edit your post.
  14. At a certain point, just publish it.
  15. Blog consistently with the help of an editorial calendar.
  16. Focus on the long-term benefits of organic traffic.
  17. Add a subscription CTA to your blog and set up an email newsletter.

7 Ways to Find Unique Tech Blog Post Ideas

7 Ways to Find Unique Tech Blog Post Ideas

Motivation. It’s probably the thing people struggle with even more than coming up with ideas or pushing publish after days of writing.

Questions about how to stay motivated to write regularly on a blog are among the most common I receive in response to the Blogging for Devs newsletter:

  • How do you get the motivation to start writing in the first place?
  • And how do you stay motivated when most of the time, you release a blog post on Twitter only to hear the sound of crickets?

At the beginning, blogging can feel a bit like screaming into the void.

Especially when writing a blog post takes hours of your free time, and you have no idea whether people are even interested in what you have to say.

My recommended strategy for getting motivated is to find blog post ideas that you’re excited to write, and cover topics or angles that are proven winners in your industry.

The result is a double dose of motivation:

  1. It’s a topic you find interesting, so you’ll enjoy writing about it more
  2. You’ve already got solid evidence that other people will find it interesting, too

In this article, I’m going to cover 7 techniques for uncovering compelling tech blog post ideas for your developer blog with proven interest from the technical community.

Let’s start 🚀

Tech Blog Ideas: 7 ways to find topics that people actually want to read about

1. See which topics people are currently searching for on your website

With the rise of static blogs, few devs bother to set up a search function on their website. There aren’t that many articles, so what’s the point?

If your site doesn’t have search, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of topic ideas that people are clearly interested in reading.

Because when someone types a phrase in your search box, they’re telling you exactly what they want to find on your site, but can’t.

Over time, you’ll be able to find patterns and generate ideas from people who’re already interested in your content.

For example, here’s a sample report from my travel blog which tells me what people were searching for during a week in July:

There’s also a section called the “Searches with no results” which tells me what people hoped to find on my website, but couldn’t find. These are prime candidates for dedicated articles, if I have the knowledge to write them.

This technique works for any kind of blog, whether it’s a tech blog, travel blog, or any other kind of website for that matter.

Here’s how to set up search on your static site so you can start getting these useful reports.

Implementation: Get blog post ideas from Algolia Weekly Reports

I personally use Algolia for search on my blog. They have a combination of APIs and JavaScript libraries you can use to set up search, and there are some handy plugins to help you regularly upload your articles for indexing.

Here are some resources for popular static site generators:

With Algolia’s free “Community” plan, you’ll get a weekly email report with popular searches and no result searches, making it easy to stay on top of what people want to read on your blog!

TIP — You can also set this up via Google Analytics’ Site Search feature. Here’s how, but in short you’ll just track the value of a query parameter like ?q=.

It appears you could do this with Simple Analytics’ Events, though the feature is marked as experimental.

2. Check the most upvoted and commented stories on Hacker News or Reddit (historically)

One of the most effective ways to crash your server is to go viral on Hacker News (HN) or a large subreddit like /r/programming.

So why not do it on purpose by strategically learning which topics and angles resonate with those communities? 😁

Jokes aside, it can make a huge difference for the exposure of your blog, your profile, and your ideas to get picked up on HN or Reddit.

But like any community, there are certain subjects that tend to get a lot of attention — and some that just won’t. Luckily, there are some easy ways to figure it out without spending your life there.

You can use Hacker News’ Algolia instance to search for the top stories.

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