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.

10 Tips For Real Estate Investing

Written by Victor E. Bomi, ATLCO REAL ESTATE ADVISORS

1. Don’t Speculate – A lot of beginner investors watch shows like HGTV and think that it is as easy as buying a property for $80,000, putting $30,000 and somehow they will sell it for $300k and make a $189k profit. The key for you to be a successful investor is to set a reasonable expectation from the beginning. You need to know what properties in excellent condition within a 0.5-1 mile radius of your target investment property are selling for. We call these COMPS. You also need to know what properties with the same bedroom/bathroom as your investment property are renting for if you intend on renting.

Invest based on real numbers that you can actually see, not based on what you “want” them to be. Also, when it comes to renovating homes always be conservative with your repair estimates. Get bids from licensed contractors and add a 10-20% contingency for unexpected expenses to that estimate. If you do these things – you will sleep better at night when investing in real estate.

2. Not All Agents Understand Investors – Real Estate Agents are great to have on your team, however a lot of them don’t understand the real financials that go behind actually investing in real estate. Most of them come from a traditional retail background and don’t actually invest in real estate themselves. So it is important to work with experienced real estate professionals who can educate you on the market and professionals that understand key metrics such as cap rate, vacancy rates, return on investments, holding costs, cash on cash returns, net income, cash flow and some of the other financial metrics that investors need to know.

Ask the agent and professional what types of returns have they been able to get their investors? Do they even have experience working with investors? What type of investors do they usually work with? These are 3 simple questions you can ask to qualify your agents before ever deciding to do business with them.

3. BUY GOOD DEALS! – Don’t Pay Retail for an Investment Property – You make your money when you “buy” – this is an age old saying in the real estate investing industry. It is important as an investor that you focus on buying “good deals” because this increases your overall return on investment. Good deals can be defined as any investment in which you are acquiring the property at steep discount to retail.

Typically most of our investors look for 65-70% “all-in” discounts off the retail price. all in means the purchase price + renovation costs added together can not equal more than 65-70% of the actual retail value of the home. Regardless of whether you aim to be a landlord or a rehabber, this rule of thumb will keep you in business longer and leave you with a lot of equity in your investments.

This rule works mainly for single family residential acquisitions but for commercial acquisitions the key to understanding if it is a good deal is to pay attention to the net cash flow of the investment and look at the expenses / debt service. To determine the value and overall returns for those types of investments. At ATLCO, we specialize in finding this types of opportunities for our investors and educate our clients on a lot of these key financial metrics to make sure that they understand the profitability of each investment. The key here is to be patient and not jumping on the first opportunity you get just because you really want to do a deal.

4. Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork – Don’t try to do it all by yourself. The most successful investors have a team of people around them that work together to help them accomplish their real estate investment goals. Who is your real estate attorney? Your licensed agent? Real estate investment advisor? Your contractor? Insurance agent? Your asset manager?

The key to being a successful investor is to focus on your own strengths while letting the real estate professionals around you focus on their strengths. When you have a great team working with you then you will be able to accomplish your real estate goals in a much more efficient and prudent manner. Since its inception, ATLCO has spent a lot of time building relationships with key resources that our investors would need in order to be successful; all in house.

5. Learn Your Market. – It is also good to be proactive and educate yourself. Don’t just rely on the information other people give you. The real estate market is cyclical. It goes up and it goes down. Pay attention to which market cycle you are in. Educating yourself about the market is key when you first decide to invest in real estate so learn what areas are hot, what areas to stay away from, and where the market is trending.

Pay attention to where corporations are moving into in your market, where there are a lot of cash sales going on, where there is a lot of construction activity and positive percentage of population growth, where the schools are great, and upcoming plans by the city to create new developments, commercial centers, in the area. Those are some key indicators to notice when trying to educate yourself about your market and trying to decide what areas to invest in.

6. Don’t Get Emotional – It can be very easy to fall in love with a project that you are a part of however this is where most beginning investors start to lose their money. Focus on your numbers when investing and your key financial metrics that must be met for you to generate the most profit and most net return on your investment. Basically, don’t take on a project like it is a house that you will be living in. Instead, know what amenities other retail homes which have recently sold in your area have. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or try to be “super extravagant” when it comes to flipping / renovating homes, because it can cost you money and increase your project costs.

Don’t ever fall in “love” with a deal, just because you really like the house, or love the area . Make sure that numbers actually work first before deciding to move forward with any prospective real estate investment. Don’t OVER-RENOVATE your projects. its okay to save money by going with mid-grade appliances or fixtures if it means you will get to keep some cash

in your pocket. Always remember, it is better to pass on a deal because it doesn’t fit your required return on investment than to OVERPAY and buy a bad deal.

7. Have A Realistic Plan – It is important for beginning investors to set realistic expectations for what they can accomplish in a given period of time. Have a good understanding of your current financial situation, your monthly income, monthly expenses, and what you can realistically afford to invest into real estate investment projects. Real Estate Investing, like other investment strategies, involve risks and is not for everybody. One of the things I enjoy the most at ATLCO is being able to sit down with each investor, learn about their story, their background, discussing their financial goals, and putting together a practical and executable real estate investment plan that can help them accomplish their financial goals.

8. Define Your Key Strategy – There are many ways to make money in real estate such as wholesaling houses, buying tax sales, renovating houses, buying rentals for cash flow, developing new construction, acquiring commercial properties to lease or flip, etc. These are just a few of the ways that investors we work with at ATLCO tend to invest. The key tip here is to make sure that you have a focus and a niche.

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades in the beginning of your investing career. You will be better off picking a specific investment strategy and surrounding yourself with the resources needed to be as successful as you can in that investment strategy. There is a lot of money to be made in all those niches I mentioned above. When first starting out, pick a strategy and give 110% to be successful at that strategy, then move on to newer strategies if you desire to do so.

9. Be Flexible – Yes, I may have said having a “defined” strategy is important, which it is, however something that is also equally as important is to be flexible. What will you do if your primary strategy is flipping and you decide to invest in an area that is more suitable for is more suitable for buying & holding properties? Will you give up or will you look for an alternative?

The correct answer is to look for an alternative, such as considering another market that may be more suitable for that strategy, or consider implementing a new strategy such as buying & holding. The key here is to not think small and limit yourself to just one place or one market and consider expanding your horizons (and working with people who are local experts in those new horizons in which you are considering).

10. DON’T OVER LEVERAGE YOURSELF – Did you hear about the slaughter that happened in the 2008 housing crisis? If you did, you are not alone. Many investors lost everything, their entire net worth, cash flow, and wealth were wiped out during the housing crash. A lot of the investors who were wiped out over-leveraged and speculated, believing the market was going to keep rising (speculation / counting on appreciation). Instead of over-leveraging, try to maintain a good mix of properties in which you have financed and work towards adding a few free and clear acquisitions to your portfolio as well. That way in the event of another financial crisis you won’t lose “everything” because you can still count on the monthly cash flow from your free and clear investments, especially if they have a low vacancy rate.

This New Mobile App Allows Users To Win An Instant Cash Jackpot

A new concept in mobile game apps was just recently released: Three years in development, the explosive 33 Numbers is a totally free app that allows users to win an actual cash jackpot instantly. While there are other game apps out there promising prizes, most if not all of them are either sponsored gift certificates or a nominal cash prize of a few dollars. 33 Numbers, however, boasts a growing jackpot in the thousands. As of the writing of this release, the cash jackpot is just over ten thousand dollars.

The app avoids gambling restrictions in most locations by making the game totally free to play. There are no in-app purchases and there is no paid-version available. The jackpot is supported by advertising revenue in the form of industry-standard banner and page ads unobtrusively displayed during the game. A play for fun version is available for a few certain states where playing any game for a monetary prize might be considered gambling. The app checks the users’ location services on download and formats the game for that location.

The game itself is easy to learn, fun to play and somewhat addicting. The object is to fill in a game board of 33 spaces with numbers between one and one thousand in ascending numerical order.

“The most often asked questions we get are, ‘Is this real?’ ‘Is it actual money?’ and, ‘where does the money come from?'”, said David Mintz, managing partner of 33 Numbers, LLC. “This reinforces the idea that our concept is so new that the market is struggling a bit to understand and accept it. Actually, it’s a very common business model, similar to say TV game shows where revenues from advertisers help support a prize for winners. We’ve just applied it to smartphone gaming. It’s not gambling because it’s totally free to play. And the more players we have, the bigger the jackpot grows.”

33 Numbers is available for download on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and directly from their website at www.33numbers.com.