Category Archives: Goals

CSUF Entrepreneurship alumna opens business in Australia

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After many months of traveling, I found myself in Cairns, Australia. To find a way of truly embracing this place and meeting as many people as possible, I tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit and started a coffee stand at a local farmers market.

Rusty’s Farmers Market is centrally located in the heart of Cairns City. It’s only open from Friday through Sunday. In addition to fresh produce, this place is vibrant and filled with vendors selling items from historical Indigenous art to handmade baby diapers. There is also food from all over the world, such as Thailand, Samoa and Iran. But one thing was missing: a taste of Vietnam. Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship Alumna Makes Travel a Goal

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In the best-selling book “The 4-Hour Workweek”, author Timothy Ferriss says that we shouldn’t wait till retirement to truly enjoy our lives. Most of us think we need to wait till then because we don’t have the financial resources to do it now. Ferris’s book provides guidelines for how to do so. Annie Nguyen, one of our recent entrepreneurship graduates, has embraced this philosophy and is currently living in Cairns, Australia. This is her story.

Atul Teckchandani

I’ve always had this burning desire inside of me to just pick up and leave. To travel somewhere. Anywhere. Not to just travel as a tourist, but rather to live in a different country for a little while and really embrace it. I wanted to meet inspiring and kind people, see what they value, and learn how to live in a different way. Nine months ago, I decided to take off and leave everything behind. The love of my life was offered an opportunity to go to Australia and I decided to accompany him. Like with anything, I did not have 100% support from everyone. I knew however this was the best time for me. With no sort of commitment to a job, no mortgage or children, I sold my car, gathered my savings, and left. Continue reading

CSUF SUM Startup Weekend – July 2014

Our new Entrepreneurship fraternity, Sigma Upsilon Mu (SUM), is going to be hosting a Startup Weekend in July. If you are not familiar with SUM and what they do the best way to describe it is that they are dedicated to demystifying the startup process for first time-entrepreneurs. The founder, Robert Gates, has meticulously developed a system to help people get their business idea off the ground and to make a real business out of it.

The event being hosted by SUM will last a little under 24 hours starting at 12:30pm on Friday, July 11 and ending at noon the next day. Taking place at the Staybridge Suites in Lake Forest, this event promises to be a can’t miss for anyone serious about starting a business. You can purchase your ticket for this event HERE. Continue reading

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Student learns about personal finances

Being financially literate isn’t something you are born into or passively acquire as you get older. It is something that you have to actively learn. And it’s better to start now then to wait until it’s too late.

Everyone knows that the literacy rate is not where it should be but people do not usually stop to consider the problems associated with a lack of financial literacy. Think about it, if you do not understand the differences between a savings account and a CD then you will probably be met with some financial difficulties in the future (to put it mildly).

Unfortunately, far too many people graduate from high school without even the slightest bit of training in this area (according to a recent study, only 14 states require courses on financial literacy to be taught at the high school level). Not preparing for the future can hamstring your life in so many ways and the longer you wait to do something the less impact it necessarily has. In our recent post, Why Your Twenties Matter, we showed that your twenties are crucial years in your life because, statistically speaking, the choices you make in your twenties have more of an impact on your personal, professional and financial lives.

For example, according to Bankrate.com, if you start investing $2,000 per year starting when you are 25 then you will have about $560,000 in the bank once you reach 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return). However, if you don’t start saving $2,000 per year until you are 35 then you will only end up with about $245,000 at 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return again).

So, what are we really talking about here? I think the best way to answer that question is by quoting PBS’ quality site on this subject:

The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy defines personal financial literacy as “the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.” (2008 Annual Report to the President)

Personal financial literacy is more than just being able to balance a checkbook, compare prices or get a job. It also includes skills like long-term vision and planning for the future, and the discipline to use those skills every day.

The PBS site is a repository of great information on the subject that can be useful to everyone. Within that site there are resources such as:

  • Help on planning for retirement
  • A wide array of financial calculators
  • Definitions of common words found in the financial sphere
  • There are even quizzes to test your absorption of the material

Another site you can look to for information on this subject is MyMoney.gov. From their site:

MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. Throughout the site, you will find important information from more than 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help you make smart financial choices.

Recently, Center for Entrepreneurship Director and Professor John Bradley Jackson participated in a seminar hosted by the Center for Economic Education on campus to help people become more financially literate. Talking about how to formulate a business plan, Professor Jackson explained to those in attendance what the purpose of a business plan was, how to develop one and resources that they could use to help them in their business endeavors.

Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson lectures on the importance of business plans to a group of people who are hard at work improving their financial literacy skills.

Center for Economic Education Director Dr. Radha Bhattacharya oversaw a full slate of presentations like Director Jackson’s. “Teaching Economics,” “The Stock Market Game and Personal finance” and “Future Financial Life” were just three of the other presentations given through this day of financial literacy bolstering. If you would like to know when the next event like this is going to happen please follow the Center for Economic Education and the Center for Entrepreneurship as well.

5 Tips for Getting Funded on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is one of those ideas that grabs you by the lapels shoulders and makes you pay attention. That’s especially so now that Kickstarter boasts three projects that have raised over one million dollars (that’s $1,000,000+ for numerophiles). Of those three projects one is a video game, one is a design project and another a comic (seriously). A fourth, which is still in the funding phase, has already raised over $1M; it’s another video game.

Yesterday, we had a post about a CSUF Entrepreneurship alum who is trying to raise some money through Kickstarter. While doing some research for that post I was able to get a pretty good idea about what separates the ideas that get funded from those that do not. Here’s 5 tips on how to raise money off of Kickstarter:

1. Have a large network

According to the Kickstarter blog, the project that has raised the most money to date did so with 71% of the people being “first-time backers” of a project on Kickstarter. That seems to be the biggest hurdle because without a lot of people willing to put in a decent amount of money the project will never get funded. Sure, smaller projects in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 can get away with not having a large network backing it up but if you want more you have to have the manpower to back it up.

2. Give back

In this instance “giving back” doesn’t mean doing charitable work. In this instance giving back means you need to act like PBS and give awards for different levels of backing. And these awards have to be cool, useful and exclusive. For Double Fine Adventures, the game that raised over $3M, a $15 backer would get a computer version of the game while a $10,000 backer would get lunch with some of the creators, a tour of their offices and all of the other awards for different donation levels as well. It’s hard to get more exclusive than that.

3. Do an awesome project

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but awesome isn’t. The Elevation Dock, which is the design project that raised over $1M, is awesome. It’s a dock for your iPhone and all units “…are individually CNC machined from solid billets of aircraft grade aluminum, no expense spared.” Taking the ubiquitous iPhone/iPod dock and making it useful and a piece of art makes this project awesome. While something may be awesome for you please check with others to make sure that your awesome-meter isn’t in need of some adjusting before resting all of your dreams on funding from Kickstarter.

4. Be reasonable

One of the ingenious rules of Kickstarter is that if a project does not reach its funding goal at the end of the funding period then the project gets nothing. Conversely, you don’t want to put the goal really low and promise a lot of great gifts to your backers because then it surely will get funded but you will probably not have enough funding to do what you say you are going to do. Perhaps the best way to go is to plan out your project (including costs) and strip it down to the barest necessities (including costs). That would be a good amount to ask for on Kickstarter. If the community latches onto your idea there’s no rule against ratcheting up your idea later on, which is something the big projects have done.

5. Be compelling

Copy writing is boring but it’s absolutely necessary. Take a look at any of the big projects that I have linked to throughout this post and you will see that they have written some compelling stories. And that is probably the key: make your quest for funding a story. Double Fine Adventures made their pitch into an “us versus them” kind of scenario between independent publishers and the behemoth publishers. Being compelling means writing a great story. It also means making a great video. Tell your story well enough to make others believe in you and fund your project.

Bonus Tip: Get the word out

While I was working on the Kickstarter post from yesterday I ran into a major problem. I wanted to put the video into this WordPress blog but couldn’t (before you go on about how to embed videos into a WP blog let me stop you, it just wasn’t going to happen using my work computer). Here’s the point: put the word out there and make it easily embeddable. Put your video(s) on YouTube (which makes videos really easy to embed), give updates on your blog or company’s website, post these things on Facebook, link to it on Twitter, make a mention of it on LinkedIn. You should also run your idea by bloggers in your niche (or close enough to it) and try to get them to write a post or two about it. Kickstarter, like many other things, is a cold numbers game. Only a certain percentage of people interested in your idea will be willing to fund your project so the more people you can get interested in your project the better are your chances for getting funding.

There are a lot of other tips out there for Kickstarter. In fact, Kickstarter has a long list of posts regarding to tips. So, if you have a great idea that you need to get funded I have already put you on the right track, the left is up to you.

Key Performance Indicators

While I was looking through YouTube the other day I happened across this quality, but brief, clip about key performance indicators. It’s a video of a consultant giving a lecture at Cal State Fullerton about goal setting and what your goals really should be. Enjoy entrepreneurs!