Starting a business can be exciting, and what better way to do it than sharing that experience with a friend. Before you start putting together contracts, a business plan and investment proposals, here are some things to know before starting a business with a friend.
Everyone has their own personality quirks, and as a friend these quirks might not bother you. If you plan to go into business with your friend, consider if these things will become a major issue.
Quirks to watch out for include:
• Tardiness: Is your friend often late to meet when you have plans? Has your friend ever mentioned arriving late to work? Tardiness could affect you negatively when meeting with clients or investors.
• Procrastination: Letting things go till the last minute could be a major issue. You want someone who gets things done quickly and without deadlines.
• Passiveness: Nothing is worse than running a business with a partner that waits to be told what to do. This can be tolerated at times from an employee, but not someone who is helping steer the ship.
Whether You and Your Friend Can Resolve Differences in a Healthy Way
As with any close relationship, there are bound to be conflicts. Most likely, both you and your friend will be passionate about being successful, and you won't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to how you will reach that goal. Since that conflict is inevitable, will you and your friend be able to resolve conflict in a healthy way?
It might seem premature to create and sign legal documents needed for a business that hasn't really begun. However, it's one of the first things you should do when starting a business.
There are three things that these legal documents should cover:
• Control of the company: These include a voting agreement, a vesting schedule for equity, and a right of first refusal.
• Ownership of intellectual property: This will ensure that all intellectual property brought to the table is owned legally by the partners.
• Protection of business idea: Before you start telling the world about your great business idea, be sure that it's protected through NDAs and that you only discuss the idea with those who need to know.
In addition to legal documents, you should secure business insurance, which protects your company's assets.
Business partnerships are a lot like marriages. They take a lot of work and they shouldn't be gone into lightly.
I avoided "Wish Lists" for a long time. Something about them seemed, well, wishy-washy. Many of my favorite online retailers placed an "Add To Wish List" button near every item I wanted, making me feel annoyed that anyone could possibly think I'd wait any longer to purchase my $44 turquoise teapot. I'd always click the "Purchase Now" button instead.
But then something changed. No longer did I have money to spend on tea supplies, CDs, books, and DVDs without putting a sizeable dent in my wallet. I was on a budget, meaning my wallet was no longer dent-proof, but rather fragile indeed. This became more and more noticeable as my mailbox continued to be the bearer of "bad news" in the form of a cell phone bill, car payments and insurance, and student loans —one after the other, and on a consistent monthly basis. Like my lovely turquoise teapot, all the other cool stuff I had intended to purchase had to be placed on the backburner.
One day, I broke down and scribbled my first Wish List on a piece of notebook paper. I separated my Wish List into two sections: "Wishes Wanted" and "Wishes Granted," and then I proceeded to list—unashamedly—every single item that I wanted to buy. After each item description, I listed the price, and also put a star next to the items I felt should be purchased sooner rather than later. When I did purchase an item, it was promptly transferred to my "Wishes Granted" list, which reminded me that I was making progress in a responsible, you-should-pat-yourself-on-the-back kind of way.
My Wish List put into perspective not only what I intended to buy over the next few months, but also made me see exactly where my "extra" money was going and how I was successfully finding that balance between the things I needed and the things I wanted. I might not have known it at the time, but I was doing myself a huge favor: my Wish List, which I still use to this day (now in electronic format!), has helped me stay within my budget. Sure, I may have to wait a little bit longer to purchase all the items I'd like to own, but it makes me appreciate them that much more when I do purchase them. I suppose this means that Wish Lists aren't that wishy-washy after all.
The Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal published a study in 2012 that found 70 percent of college students gain weight, averaging almost 12 pounds in four years. While many factors can contribute to the weight gain, eating a balanced diet while living in the dorm rooms can help you maintain a healthy weight. Consider your health when buying food to keep in your dorm room.
Snack on nuts and seeds when cramming for tests or reading your textbooks. Nuts and seeds boost brain power and memory. Dr. Oz says peanuts have choline, a B vitamin that supports overall mental functioning. Walnuts have omega-3, vitamin E and other antioxidants that also help brain function.
Quality carbs help with concentration. Whole grains improve circulation, which makes it easier to focus. Try whole-grain cereal or an English muffin or bagel with peanut butter as a quick breakfast or snack before an exam.
Keep broccoli in the fridge to dip in hummus while studying or reading. Broccoli has vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brain power. Sip green tea to improve alertness. WebMD.com suggests eating dark fruits like blueberries that help with cognition thanks to their antioxidants.
Craving sugar? Try dark chocolate; it contains natural stimulants like caffeine, which can enhance focus and concentration. Dark chocolate also has lots of antioxidants.
When You Need Sleep
Physicians on sharecare.com, a health and wellness website, suggest you try high-carb foods that boosts serotonin, like half a cup of pretzels, chia seeds, or half a cup of pasta with marinara sauce. Wash it down with a warm cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or milk.
Don’t forget the proteinKeep deli meats in your mini fridge to make sandwiches with low-fat cheese and whole-wheat bread. Skip the regular mayo in favor of mustard or low-fat mayo. Pair the sandwich with fruit. For quick protein boost, try protein bars or shakes.
Tired of the same old turkey or PB&J sandwich? Try these healthy variations, all on whole-wheat bread: almond and cranberries with peanut butter; light, whipped cream cheese and blueberries; and tuna salad and tomato.
More Foods To Stock
If you like clowning around, and juggling a lot of things at once, you may be of the right caliber to become a circus performer. You may in fact be the right caliber of human cannonball.
In all seriousness: if you have ever wanted to run away from home and join the circus, now would be a great time. The American Youth Circus Organization is hosting a five day festival in Seattle from August 14-18 to bring circus performers and enthusiasts together to build a strong community. You may just find out that your big career step will be joining up with a traveling circus.
You will enjoy all the perks of traveling, shoveling elephant poop, swinging from wires, and juggling. If you are not acrobatically inclined, but would still like to receive all the perks, you could also be the ticket-taker or the balloon animal maker.
The festival offers 150 different workshops that vary from contortion, to tumbling and acrobatics, to aerial techniques and many more. The American Youth Circus Organization was founded in 1998 to establish a stronger community among circus performers. If you want to join this growing community of performers, here are some steps you'll need to take:
Find a skill: There are many different options of circus acts, some of the specialized talents are trapeze artists, tightrope walker, fire breather, juggler, bearded lady, clown, unicyclists etc. You will have to determine which of your natural abilities can translate into a good circus act.
Practice makes perfect: Regardless of how good your female beard looks, you will still have to practice an act. Simply being a good juggler will not secure you a job, you will need to be able to perform and put a great act together.
Think about it: Make sure you are prepared for the circus world. While there are some non-traveling circuses, the majority spend quite some time on the road. You may also need to go to a circus school to perfect your act, or enhance and develop it for future shows. Joining the circus is not a way to get out of going to college.
Circuses have been hiring people and it's not impossible to clown your way into a job.
Human cannonball Tina Miser practiced for a long time before she perfected her act, and she admits that being shot out of a cannon for a living is not an easy shot to fame. She worked for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus and graduated from college and served in the Air Force Reserve before finally making the leap into becoming a professional cannonball.
When I was in high school, I made it a point to take as many AP classes as I could in order to get college credit. When I entered the University of Wisconsin as a freshman, I came in with 24 credits, all from AP courses and was able to register as a sophomore.
Because enrollment in new classes was based on a students’ academic year, I was able to register earlier than all of my friends and dorm-mates. I was able to bypass a number of general education requirement courses and take courses that were more interesting to me. While many students use their AP credits to graduate early, I opted to stay for the full four years, but used the flexibility that came with my AP credits to complete three full majors in those four years.
My personal experience with AP courses was very positive. The courses gave me a head start in terms of college credit and helped prepare me for college-level coursework.
However, not everyone’s experience with AP courses is the same, and there are some important drawbacks to as well. A recent study on AP courses by Challenge Success raised questions about many of the common assumptions about the benefits of AP courses. There are no mandatory requirements for AP teachers, meaning that the quality of an AP course can vary greatly and may be far lower than the college course it is meant to replace. Additionally, the study found that AP courses on average have very little impact on the length of time it takes students to graduate college, meaning that students may not ultimately be saving time and money by paying to take AP exams, which cost $89 per exam. Furthermore, college treatment of AP credit varies widely by school, with some schools refusing to grant AP credit at all.
At the end of the day, a student’s experience with AP courses will depend on your own academic aptitude, the quality of teachers and how your desired college treats AP credit, among other factors. Regardless, taking a course or two to test the waters is a great way to feel out how well AP courses fit into the student’s long-term academic plan.
The reality for millions of college students is that there aren’t enough hours in a day or dollars in the bank. Trying to solve both of these problems at once, however, can be almost impossible. Some find support from their parents. Others pay for school using loans, grants, and scholarships alone.
Then there are those among us (like me a few years back) who are forced to balance school life with work responsibilities.
Clock-punching backpack-schlepping student workers, take heart! There are ways to make your life slightly easier and keep your sanity somewhat intact while juggling work and school.
Managing your job A few things to keep in mind while you start the juggling act.
• Prioritize your classes. Are there classes necessary for your degree that are only offered once a term or, worse, once a year? Make sure to know what those classes are and build your schedule around them ahead of time.
• Don’t make commitments you can’t keep. If particular classes or particular shifts are inflexible, don’t expect that your instructors and managers will be forever stoked about your calling every week scrambling for coverage or asking for extensions.
• Find ways to work outside of a set schedule. Do you have opportunities to freelance? Are you willing to be on call to work certain shifts? Are you able to work from home? Fattening your bankroll without being tied to a set schedule or a particular location allows you to focus more on the demands of your school schedule.
Once you get everything going School schedule? Check. Work schedule? Check. Keeping it all running flawlessly… well, it’s a process.
• Don't be embarrassed. Being open about your responsibilities is much better than pretending they don't exist. Make sure you are communicating with your classmates, co-workers, instructors, and managers. Even and especially on days and weeks you think you may fall short, keeping everybody in the loop is not only the responsible thing to do, it also shows your superiors that you’re serious about your commitments.
• Be creative. Are you able to take your work with you to school and pare it down between classes? Can you do the same with your homework and slog through it when you have a few minutes during a break? Layering time commitments will leave you with more sanity-restoring free time later.
• Ask for help. Co-workers and instructors might be more willing to work with your schedule than you give them credit for. There's no harm in asking.
Crises You’ve planned. You’ve made tough decisions. You’ve communicated. And yet… something still manages to take you by surprise. What now?
• Communicate. There’s a reason why this has been repeated twice before: it’s really, really important. It's one thing to take time off without much notice... it's another to do it with no forewarning at all.
• Don't be too proud. It might be nice to say you didn’t use loans to go to college, but it's much better to get a lower-interest student loan than, say, paying for revolving credit on a credit card.
Some strategic planning goes a long way toward striking a healthy balance between your job and your education, and keeping these tips in mind will make maintaining that balance a little easier.
Summer is nearing the end and the college semester is hot on the horizons. When you work a busy schedule and live a hectic life, the idea of attending school seems nearly impossible. However, today, there are more and more universities offering degree programs online which allow students of all facets to achieve higher education. The question for most students is; Am I ready for online classes? Is this something I should give a try?
The answer to those questions will depend upon a few different factors, particularly those listed below:
Are you disciplined? Unlike physical classes where you have to show up at a specified day and time, most online courses allow you to review the work whenever you get the chance. If you’re not disciplined enough, you could find yourself falling behind on deadlines and receiving poor grades.
Do you learn well alone? Online learning is for those who are able to learn on their own. The classes are designed for students who will be logging on at different times of day. The work is simply placed for completion with instructions and students are to carry out the assignments and submit them accordingly. For those who learn better in a group setting or with the immediate support of a teacher, they might reconsider online learning as an option.
Are you tech savvy? – While you don’t have to be an IT major to take an online learning course it does help if you’re computer literate. There are times when software needs to be used and/or downloaded, the interface for the online classes will need to be used appropriately, and even when interacting virtually with teachers and students you will need to know some basics. If technology gets your stomach all tied up in knots it may be best to find other opportunities for learning.
There are several schools now that will offer students a “trial” course to ensure that they are ready for online learning. While it may cost you a bit to try out, this is something you might want to do before you spend your hard earned cash on a course and don’t succeed. During these trial classes you are able to see firsthand what online learning will encompass and determine whether it is the right step for your education. If it turns out it’s not for you, don’t be discouraged. There are other options that allow you to get your degree.
Having a summer job is great. It gets you out of the house, and hopefully to an air conditioned location. Plus, many companies hire extra help during the summer months which makes a summer job relatively easy to find. If you would like to continue the cash flow that the job provides during the school year it is important to follow these rules.
Talk to your supervisor
Don't wait until the last minute to talk to your supervisor about extending your time with the company. In fact, you should ask about the possibility during the interview process. If you missed that chance, ask as soon as possible. That way they can train for the position that they'll need help with in the long run, not just the summer. It can also be helpful to get more information from your supervisor about the company, the job, and how to get hired.
Choose your job wisely
If you apply for a job as a camp counselor or lifeguard at the local pool, chances are that the job won't be around when school starts. So make sure you choose a job that can be done year-round.
Work at a national chain
This is especially helpful if you're about to go off to college. If you work for a big company there is a good chance they will be able to transfer you to a different location where help is needed, or to a location closer to your dorm.
Be the hardest worker there. If you want your job to last longer it's important that you make sure you become valuable to the company. Most companies like to hire from within and a seasonal job is great way to get your foot in the door. So show up on time, cover shifts when you can, and be a team player.
Work with a company you like
If you're just looking for some cash this may not be the way to go, but if you want to jumpstart your career this is the way to go. Everyone starts at the bottom, so apply for jobs within the company that you are qualified for and work your way into a position that you really want.
Attending a job fair is an entirely different ballgame than going on an individual interview. The biggest mistake people make with job fairs, is they prepare the same way they do for interviews. While it is a good idea to be familiar with common interview questions, there are specific things you should do to get attention and succeed at a job fair.
Do your homework. Research what companies will be there. Even though there could be dozens of companies, it is best to choose the companies you are most interested in and that are offering positions that are suitable. While you are researching the companies, try to come up with an answer to why you are interested in the company, what you like about the company, or why you are a good pick for them. This way you’ll be able to be prepared while talking with them.
Know what positions are available. You can approach the recruiter with knowledge of the position and why you’re qualified. This sets you aside since you are interested in a specific role. It also proves you have done your research in the company.
Check your LinkedIn before you go. Type in the specific companies you are planning to visit. This will then show you any connections you may have that are already working there or have worked there in the past. You can reach out to your connection for advice or ask them to put in a good word for you.
Pack appropriately. Bring any notes you’ve taken and blank paper and pen to take additional notes. Be sure to keep any applications, business cards or other materials organized. Take a brief case or bag that is easy to carry and that allows you navigate your resume and business cards. Besides your resume, you’ll also want to bring samples of your work or a portfolio if it is applicable.
Go early. Allow yourself ample time to be at the fair. Some companies won’t stay the whole time or may get there late. So getting there early allows you to take advantage of those who are there early and gives you time to talk to those who get there later. Plus, this gives you time to familiarize yourself with the layout of the area and any surprise companies that may show up last minute.
Stay organized and collected. Once you get to the fair, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Pace yourself. After each interaction, do not rush to the next. Take a moment to jot down a few notes about the last position. Be sure to note if the recruiter gave you a card, told you to email them, or instructed you to apply to something online.
Follow up. Not following up is a mistake people often make as well. The recruiters met with hundreds of people so send them a personal email so they remember you. Thank them for their time and be sure to include anything you spoke about that would refresh their memory. Attach your resume or portfolio to the email as well.
DeVry University, ITT Technical Institute, Kaplan University, University of Phoenix. You’ve probably seen the advertisements for these schools, but did you know that they are all for-profit institutions? They are in the education business, and they are doing so at a profit to their investors. But do students benefit too?
• A two-year associate’s degree at a for-profit school costs an average of $35,000.
• A two-year associate’s degree at a comparable community college costs an average of $8,300.
• The average student who graduates from a for-profit school has median debt of $32,700.
• The average student who graduates from a private, non-profit has median debt of $24,600.
• The average student who graduates from a public college or university has median debt of $20,000.
• 96% of students at for-profit schools take out student loans.
• 57% of students in four-year, private, non-profit colleges take out student loans.
• Students who attended for-profit colleges were responsible for 47% of all federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009.
• 22% of students enrolled in a for-profit college defaulted on their student loans within three years of beginning repayment.
The disparity between for-profit and non-profit schools is clear – for-profit schools are much more costly and require more financial aid. What isn’t clear is whether for-profit schools are good for you or good for them. The answer depends on who you ask. For-profit schools will tell you that they offer programs for nontraditional students, have unique courses of study and can adapt more quickly to meet their students’ changing needs. After all, they answer to their investors, not to a board of trustees.
Let’s look at the flip side. According to a study done in 2011 on trends in higher education, the completion rate for bachelor’s degrees at for-profit schools was significantly lower than those of non-profit schools.
So students at for-profit colleges pay more for tuition, borrow more money, default on their student loans at a rate of 22% and their graduation rate is lower than a public, four-year college. You’ll have to judge for yourself, but to me, for-profit colleges seem to be in it for themselves.
If you haven’t been scared off yet, evaluate your educational and financial options for both types of schools carefully. Compare the following:
• Annual tuition cost
• Available financial aid (grants and scholarships vs. loans)
• Quality of the curriculum
• Accreditation of the schools you’re considering
• Post-graduation job placement
Any school you’re considering, including for-profits, should have this information readily available so you can make an informed decision.