Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Wife Create Fund To Fight Homelessness

Named the richest man in modern history, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie recently launched the $2 Billion “Bezos Day One Fund” to help combat homelessness, and assistance with early childhood education. In a statement Bezos tweeted on Thursday September 13th, he stated that the fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations “doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. There will also be full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in “underserved” communities.”

Charitable giving and fighting homelessness is nothing new for Jeff Bezos and the Amazon company. Earlier this year, The Washington Post owner partnered Amazon with Mary’s Place, a Seattle nonprofit, to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters. Amazon customers have been able to order items from the Mary’s Place’s wishlist on the site, since 2016. They also previously helped the nonprofit temporarily house 200 homeless people.

The Bezos family also recently donated $10 million to With Honor, which is a nonpartisan organization focused on boosting the number of veterans in politics. The couple donated one third of the organizations $30 million funding goal, to help elect a minimum of 30 American military veterans in November.

 

 

3 Spectacular Website Builders For Your Small Business

Written by Salina Jivani

Nowadays, if you’re a business owner, having a website is a non-negotiable. Whether it exists to help drive customers to your brick-and-mortar store or to make your presence known against those of your competitors, having an attractive, comprehensive website is a must-have. Luckily, building one is now easier than ever before with some great easy-to-use platforms.  

Wix

Wix is popular because it’s free if you use its web subdomain (in other words, your website address would end in websitename.wix.com) and it’s a great drag-and-drop website building solution. Its onboarding assistance tool makes it easy for novices to set up and configure their website with minimal effort. Wix is perfect for people who have no idea how to code or have never built a website and don’t mind having pop-up ads on their site.

Weebly

This is an all-inclusive website building solution that offers you pretty much everything you’ll ever need to build and grow your website. Weebly lets you pick the layout and design of your site, but takes care of the more serious things, like protecting you against hackers and making sure your website speed is up to par. Like Wix, if you use the Weebly subdomain, your site will be free. Unlike Wix, you don’t have to worry about pesky ads infiltrating your site.

WordPress

Perhaps the most popular website building solution out there, WordPress is highly reputed. It allows you more flexibility to build and maintain the look and capabilities of your site than other options because it allows you to actually code your site to your specifications, if you want. Various plugins available to you allow you to add different capabilities and features to your site (like a pop-up banner, fancy comments section, etc.) so that it’s more customized to your needs. But unlike Weebly and Wix, it can be a pricey option.

Whichever option you go with, remember it’s not about how much or how little you pay for your site, but more about whether it meets your needs and represents your business well.

3 Easy Ways to Fund Your Start Up In No Time

Written by Salina Jivani

You’ve got a brilliant business idea brewing. Or maybe you’ve already launched your small business. In either case, at some point, you’ll probably need an extra influx of cash. Of course in those instances, you can consider the typical avenues, like applying for a loan through a bank or credit union, or you can get a little creative to drum up those extra funds. Here are some lesser-used options to consider.  

Bootstrapping

If the thought of taking out a loan buried with interest and then being tied to it forever (or what feels like forever) makes you a little nervous, you can always bootstrap. This is basically a self-financing method where you pool together available funds from your savings account, personal funds, credit card, home equity, etc. In most cases these funds equal enough to give most businesses owners the extra stash of cash they’re in need of—minus the interest.   

Angel investing

If you’re looking to get more than just the few grand you’ll probably gather from bootstrapping, you might consider angel investors. These are business professionals who have excess cash they wish to invest. In most cases, angel investors are a good option if you’re looking for anywhere from $10,000 to a few million. A few places to search for these investors are AngelList and Angel Capital Association, both of which help connect entrepreneurs with willing investors.

Crowdfunding

If you’re passionate and skilled enough to promote your business idea in a way that persuades people to put their dollars behind you, try crowdfunding. With no interest, loan term or strings attached, crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way to find the extra injection of cash your business needs. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are known to have given many entrepreneurs the jumpstart they needed.

If none of these options sound right for you, consider talking to a banker or lender about other alternatives available for your particular situation and business.

King of Pops Co-Founder Steven Carse Covers the September 2018 Issue of VEU Magazine

We are pleased to have Steven Carse, the co-founder of King of Pops, the popsicle brand taking the world by storm, cover the Special Edition September 2018 of VEU Magazine. When Steven Carse, the co- founder of King of Pops, launched his own popsicle business, he didn’t have much. A couple of grand, a used ice cream push cart and boatloads of determination were the key ingredients to his company’s success. As for him, personally, his story started in Georgia, where he grew up and attended the University of Georgia, obtaining his bachelor’s in Journalism. Out of college, he jump started his career as a sports writer at Idaho Falls, Idaho. But within a short period of time, he moved back to Atlanta and tried his hand at insurance, where he learned some of his most valuable lessons about business, lessons he still believes in today. As luck would have it, the financial recession left Carse jobless—he was laid off from the company in 2009. But as they say, when that door closed, another one was ready and open. He decided to start King of Pops, and he hasn’t looked back since.

In this issue we also feature a list of 13 entrepreneurs and creatives you need to know. This list was curated by our assistant editor Tianna Maxon Little. “The 13 entrepreneurs and creatives on this list all are truly dedicated to their crafts and deserve to be admired for it,” she stated.

Click here to read the full issue online now

How to Prep Your Small Business for a Smoother Tax Season in 2019

Written by Salina Jivani

Taxes. It’s one word that gives most people a run for their money…pun intended. If 2019 will be your first year filing taxes, or you’re simply tired of the stress and chaos associated with tax season, now’s the time to make quick fixes so you’re not buried in an avalanche of stress (and paperwork) when tax time does roll around.  

Track your income and expenses

Most people start the year off strong, doing a meticulous job of tracking expenses, only to fall off the bandwagon about midyear. Now is a good time to start back up where you left off and log your gross receipts, sales, employee wages, and other such line items so that when it comes time to list everything on your taxes, you’re not having to backtrack and tally several months’ worth of figures.

Consider your deductions

Perhaps one of the greatest perks of taxes are deductions. Keep a thorough log of “ordinary and necessary” expenses so that you can quickly access these numbers when it comes time to enter in your deductions. Remember, deductions lower your taxable income. Losing track of your deductible items will mean that you’ll end up showing a higher income, meaning you’ll end up paying more in taxes.

Start gathering documents

By now, you should know the tax drill. You’ll need your previous year’s bank statements, payroll documents, accounting documents, etc. to submit to your tax accountant or keep on hand if you’re filing your own taxes. Start printing and putting these documents to the side each month so you’re not left hunting for a year’s worth of documents at the last moment.

Preparing in advance is the key to success for a stress-free tax season. If in the end, despite your preparations, you’re not able to get everything in order by the April deadline, be prepared to request an extension. 

Angela Yee Is Helping Side Hustlers Turn Their Dreams Into Reality

Entrepreneur and The Breakfast Club co-host Angela Yee is teaming up with AMP Energy Organic for the “Ultimate Side Hustlers” nationwide contest.

The Juices for Life co-owner will give contest finalists the chance to showcase their unique side hustles live at Power 105.1’s Powerhouse NYC 2018 this October. “When you want something bad enough you need to put in the work and keep going until you make it happen,” Angela Yee stated. “I’m excited to hear from people who are getting home from work and turning around to put the same amount of energy into their passion project. It’s also why I’m excited to partner with AMP ENERGY® Organic, which gives me a boost of energy with only five simple, organic ingredients, to help show how the hustle pays off.”

“Everyone wants to get more out of life, but few are willing to go the extra mile. AMP ENERGY Organic respects the hustle and knows that sometimes you just need an extra boost to stay unstoppable. We’re looking for the afterhours moguls and on-the-side creatives who are doing whatever it takes to turn their dreams into reality. We know these unsung entrepreneurs are out there and we can’t wait to help share their stories,” said Justin Schwarz, Marketing Director, Flavors and Energy.

The contest will kick off August 27th-September 16th, 2018, with a national call for entries in the categories of food, fashion, beauty, art, or music. Online submissions will be evaluated by the AMP ENERGY Organic team and Angela Yee. 

For more information about the contest visit http://www.power1051fm.com/AMPEnergyOrganic

Can Bozoma Saint John Lead Papa John’s In a New Direction?

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, the once-beloved pizza franchise, Papa John’s, has had several large social equality missteps, to put it lightly. The company’s founder and namesake, John Schnatter, was pushed out of the company following allegations of him using racist language during company meetings. The company has been scrambling to recover its image, and it may have found the right person to do it: Bozoma Saint John.

Saint John has had an impressive career over the course of the years, with executive management roles at Beats, Apple, and Uber all on her resumé. Now she is heading Endeavor, who Papa John’s onboarded as its new agency of record during its time of crisis.

While I’m rather skeptical of Papa John’s sincerity to their commitment to diversity and racial sensitivity, Saint John seems to think different. “This is a really pivotal moment not just for Papa John’s, but for all corporate businesses and all brands that service a larger group of people,” she told Adweek.

 

What do you think? Do you believe this is a step in the right direction for the pizza company, or are they just using this as a ploy to win back customers?

 

 

Taraji P. Henson Is Dedicated To Bringing Awareness To Mental Health

With mental health being one of the most important aspects of our well being, yet one of the least talked about, we are glad to see more celebrities speaking out and bringing more awareness to it. Taraji P. Henson is doing her part to release the stigma associated with mental health, especially in the African American community. On September 22, the actress will officially launch the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her father who suffered from mental health issues.

She stated “I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues. “My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support. I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”
This raises the question of what role do celebrities have at ending the stigma associated with mental health, not just in the African American community, but in general. How much of a responsibility can we put on them, without pointing the finger at ourselves? I’m sure there are many of us with friends and family suffering from various mental health. How often do we check on them or offer assistance? Something for us all to think about.

This Tuskegee Native and Disc Jockey is Playing His Way To Success

Tuskegee, AL native, Tuskegee University alumni and disc jockey Oscar Austin knows the definition of hard work, staying true to your character, and never forgetting where he comes from. Learn more about him and his passion as this weeks creative spotlight feature

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

To me, entrepreneurship means someone has an idea, vision, mission, and passion​which turn into thriving business. Simply, an entrepreneur has the drive to design and build an empire, with the big picture in the forefront.  ​You may be the only one to see it and are optimistic enough to believe in the dream you have.

What inspired you to get started in your field?

What inspired me to create a disc jockeying and audio visual business is my true love of music. I admire and respect all ​genres of music, composition, medleys, and sounds. The way music speaks to the heart ​can be therapeutic. The art of music is such a universal language. It​ ​crosses all boundaries.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome so far?

The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome in my career is the pursuit of ​a communication​s studies ​degree from The University of Alabama to advance my career. ​ ​I had to put my passion on ​a brief hold, to obtain​ further knowledge and abilities​ ​to enhance my creative ideas for my business.

 

The 3 fun facts I want others to know about me are: (​1​)​ I have a strong love for my ​hometown​,​ Tuskegee, A​L ​ and the preservation of ​its rich history​; (2)​ I was the Golden Tigers mascot for Tuskegee University Athletics ​; (3) ​I love having fun​; ​ ​I ​am very spontaneous.

My word of encouragement to future entrepreneurs is keep striving to make your dream happen. ​Honestly, obstacles, naysayers, and dream-crushers will always be there to deter you from accomplishing your goals. “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.” Booker T. Washington

3 Reasons to Have a Side Hustle

Written By Tiffany Terrell

Side Hustle. Often many people never pursue their side hustle because they end up talking themselves out of the situation. Telling everyone about their idea of how they will make extra cash to do things they love, or even money to sit aside for a rainy day. It’s great to have feedback from close friends or family. It’s also can be a double edge sword. If the person you’re speaking with has a 9 to 5 mindset they can usually talk you out of a side hustle. Let’s set the record straight. It is nothing wrong with having a job or career. Truth is people don’t become wealthy on someone else clock. Most entrepreneurs often start off with side hustles. Typical an entrepreneur find a niche and turn it into a business.

Time. Everyone has the same 24hrs. If you consider the average person works 8 hours a day. Considering a person has 16 hours left out the day. Sleep. Let’s say you sleep 8 hours. What do you have left 8 hours? Magic. You have 8 hours left. Great. Well some people are parents, have errands after work, and just plan busy. If you take at least 2 hours from your 8 hours you have left, it can change your life significantly.

Blocks. Touching most of the reasons why many give up or don’t go through with the plan. The truth is no one knows if the side hustle will work. Doubt goes through everyone mind. The question is why not? Imagine if every million dollar corporation gave up. Most of them started with ideas, some started with side hustles, and the rest started with no money in their pocket.

3 Reasons Every Person Should Have a Side Hustle:

  1. Multiple Streams of Income. You can never make too much money, there’s no such thing. Having multiple streams of income is important. No one thing is secure. Imagine losing a job that pays you over $50,000 a yr. You have no other source of income. Once you lose the position how exactly will you survive? Savings. Awesome. How much did you save? Was it enough to suffice for a year? The average person absolutely not. This is why side hustles are important. Most don’t call it side hustle. Can be just extra income. Great. Let go from the 8 hours a day. Now you’re free to pursue even more. Being that you built the side hustle. It makes it easier to make more money.
  2. The Internet is a great tool. The internet has made it easier to have a side hustle. You can operate a business off of an IPhone or Smart phone. WOW. You don’t have to have any sort of PC to operate a side hustle. Even social media is at your fingertips. Giving you free will to connect with over millions of individuals to gain customers for the side hustle.
  3. Lead to bigger opportunities. “The side hustle can lead to bigger opportunities”, the bigger picture for people is the hustle will eventually lead to “financial freedom”. The easy part is starting. The hard part is staying consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to the “Hustle”. While picking which side hustle is suitable be sure to pick one that you’re passionate about.