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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

The Rise of Nights and Weekend Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

While entrepreneurs may share various character and personality traits, there are may types of of entrepreneurs.  Some exist under the radar while others get all of the hype.  The one that probably gets the most news coverage and are therefore the most well known is the startup entrepreneur. The startup entrepreneur is the person that takes an idea, may get some angel or VC funding (or even self fund) and creates and launches a product.  These types of entrepreneurs get a lot of coverage as they sometime have high profile exits where other companies buy their product for millions of dollars. The recent Mint.com story is an example of this.

Other Entrepreneur Types

Of course there are many other types. One that is getting a lot of recent attention is the home based business entrepreneur.  Businessweek just had an article that covered some surprising stats for this group.  There are also the small business entrepreneurs that have stores, shops, bars and restaurants that we all visit nearly everyday of our lives.   Then there is the purely unintentional entrepreneur that due to job loss are forced into starting a business.  There has been a lot of coverage of these unintentional entrepreneurs lately due to the huge amount of job losses during the economic downturn.

Enter the Night and Weekend Entrepreneur Warrior

The entrepreneur that floats under nearly every radar is the person who has a full-time day job, but still is an entrepreneur through a side business. As demonstrated from this clip from the cult classic Office Space, Milton Waddams exemplifies where some people get their motivation for their side business while they work their full time job:

While nights and weekend entrepreneurs have various motivations for starting their businesses, they all face very similar experiences:

1) Time Crunch – Even more than other entrepreneurs, because of their 9-6 day jobs,  nights and weekend warriors can really only fully focus on their side businesses during limited time periods.  That can be used as an advantage because since time is so precious, these types of entrepreneurs must be even more focused on time management and efficiency when they do work on their own business.

2) The Constant Pull Away From the Business– Each night and weekend these entrepreneurs face the temptation when they come home from work or on that weekend, to turn on the TV or to go into procrastination mode.  It is even more tempting to the nights and weekend warriors because of the fatigue that sets in from the day job.  Nevertheless, there are successful entrepreneurs that overcome this temptation and beat the fatigue and procrastination demon that is there every time you come home from the day job.

3) Beating the Not Doing Enough Syndrome – Because the nights and weekend warriors do not have a dedicated 40 hours of time for their business, they constantly are fighting the guilt that they are not moving fast enough or getting enough done.  The way these warriors get through this syndrome is keeping that eternally optimistic side that is in the small business psyche and saying, I am moving forward and doing all I can.  Otherwise, this guilt will overcome and doom you.  Night and weekend entrepreneur warriors battle this syndrome every time they look at their “to do” list.

While these are common challenges, nights and weekend entrepreneurs also share the same hunger to create something that they can set the direction for and grow.  We imagine that we will increasingly hear more about these entrepreneurs in the future.

Examples of Nights and Weekend Entrepreneurs

Here are just a few examples of Nights and Weekend Entrepreneurs we know about:

KikScore is a company that is made up of nights and weekend entrepreneurs and see here and here for some background on our experience.

Design 2 Print – which is KikScore’s hats and bumpersticker vendor.  Rush at Design 2 Print offers a lot more promotional items such as apparel, glasses, mugs, badges, calendars and much much more. Their slogan is “Our Business is Promoting YOUR Business.”

Simply Astro – Shiv who owns this site and a host of others spends nights and weekends devoted to fine tuning his astrology, horoscope, match making and Feng Shui site.

Know of any more, please leave them in the comment section below.

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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

The Glass is Half Full, Because the Other Half is on My Pants

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

half full

Optimism.  That’s the number one characteristic of most entrepreneurs.  Is it raining today?  No worries, because I look great in my raincoat.  No food at the party?  Not a problem, people just come for the beer.  The economy is on the verge of the second Great Depression?  Hmmm…I guess, no worries, because I look great in my raincoat. 

What made me think about the preponderance of sunshine in most entrepenuers’ outlooks?  Well, as usual, it began with a margarita (actually 2 and 1/2 margaritas).  My wife and I were having lunch at Rosa Mexicano.  And as the saying goes, “When in Rosa, order at least three pomegranate margaritas.”  It could have been the humidity, or the sheer weight of the glass, but as I gripped the drink and raised it to my mouth, it just fell into my lap.  I could have quit, but I started scooping the pooled liquid back into the glass (see above drink picture and realize most of that was sitting on my jeans prior to being salvaged).

So, how does this relate to small business and optimism?  I guess it’s a bit tenuous, but making the best of whatever the economy or marketplace throws you (or what you throw on yourself) appears to be a cornerstone for successful entrepreneurs. 

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business did a thorough study on optimism as it relates to an investment stnadard for start-ups.  The outcome of the study is not shocking (but when you have a GSB study to back you up, you sound more impressive).  The overall gist was that entrepeneurs generally are overally optimistic in their assessment of their own businesses.  This has both good and bad implications for investors in these start-ups.  The Bad:  optimism makes it difficult for the founders to truly asses market acceptance and overal value of the business.  The Good:  Because of their optimism, most founders will work the required nights and weekends to make sure the business is successful.  Of course, the study hedges the overall take-away by claiming that “realistic” entrepeneurs will have a better ability to value the business.

So, is optimism a curse or a blessing?  And did I actually drink the salvaged margarita?

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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Tell Us About Your Favorite Business: It's got to be better than "Free Stuff"

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

free stuff

Here’s a picture that I took when I recently went home.  My Dad owns a commercial building in Fargo-Moorhead.  On his parking lot was a trailer with a “hand-crafted” sign that stated free-stuff.  My first question was “Dad, why do you have a trailer with a free stuff sign?”  (seems like the obvious question).  The second question was, “where’s my phone so i can take a picture of this?”.

The answer I got for Question Number 1 surprised me — instead of going through the expense of having to dispose of certain items (paint, electronics etc), my Dad figured to put out a trailer and label junk “free stuff”.  Every week he fills it up and every week people come by and pick it up.  He saves money.  I hate to admit it, but my Dad is a pretty sharp business guy.  He’s a terrible sign maker, however.

All of this is prelude to the idea of having our readers and customers submit ideas that they have had in running their business (or simply highlight a business that you think is doing a good job).  We’d prefer it be an online business, because that most applies to our readership interest, but don’t limit only to online (as good ideas are good ideas).  Also, if you happen to see a sign worse than my Dad’s free stuff sign, please also share.  That may be a new feature by itself.

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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Diary of a Tech Start-Up: Funding…Dance with the Devil or Not

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

One of the ongoing debates going on with our tech start-up is whether to seek outside investment or not.  The first point that is often made by one of us is that it is too early to be thinking about it.  Heck, we just launched the beta version of this site and are now getting our first customers…isn’t it a bit presumptive to think about asking for $$ from a stranger? 

This scenario reminds me of a scene in the greatest movie of all time — Waiting for Guffman.  Corky St. Clair is charged with directing a play about Blaine, Missourri’s history.  Corky approaches the City Council and states that the ONLY thing he needs to throw the play is “one hundred thousand dollars”.  When informed that the City’s annual budget is $100k and that includes swimming, Corky responds “there won’t be swimming in my play.”  How does this tie into our discussion for asking for outside investment?  Well, maybe it doesn’t but it’s a great movie.  No, my point is that we before we seek out investment, we need to clearly establish a need for our services and that we have a competent management team that will know what to do with the money if/when we do get it.  We can’t go in all Corky St. Clair, not having a clue as to what is a reasonable amount of investment and establish what we are going to do with the money will have a strong likelihood of showing a return on investment.  See Corky asking for money

Now comes a more pressing question.  Assuming the time is right (and we don’t ask for the entire City Council’s budget), do we seek out investment at all?  As Raj pointed out in an earlier post, there are now a lot of tools that exist that make starting and running a business very inexpensive.  To date, we’ve been self-funding KikScore and we’re pretty good at stretching a dollar.  While it would be great to have a swank office and have the ability to throw an awesome holiday party with a DJ, it may not be worth the equity and control we’d have to give up (it really depends on how good the DJ is).  We’re not alone in our thinking.  According to a recent posting on www.rockyradar.com84% of Inc’s Fastest Growing 500 companies never received venture capital (though many did likely get angel financing). 

Several of us on the KikScore team have been part of venture-backed companies previously.  Some of us had good experiences, some of us did not.  So, as we continue to grow our customer base and improve upon our core product, the debate within KikScore will rage — do we continue to self-fund or do we seek professional investment.  We’ll keep you updated (and we’d love to hear your thoughts about it).

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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Who Do I Trust? Who Do I Trust? Me, That’s Who!

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Trust. It’s essential to any purchase. It’s also a big deal to Tony Montana (aka Scarface). Why do I bring him up? Because, in addition to giving pop culture the famous quote above, Tony’s business had to deal with trust issues. In the beginning, he was a small business – working much harder than more well-known “entrepreneurs.” It was only after years of building a large customer base that potential buyers knew he was a trusted source of “product.” And only then could Tony take a little time off, buy a big mansion, fly off into paranoid coke-fueled fits of rage and get into a shoot-out with 40 gunmen. Tony’s story is every small business’ story. And we here at KikScore want to help you build your business’ trust factor up quickly – so you can get going on that big mansion and violent death.

Your mom was right — Appearance is Everything. Offering a low price, without a professional looking website, business contact information and customer references – well, it’s like getting a letter from a Nigerian princess who will double your money in 60 days. It just sounds too good to be true. Too many people have been burned by other “great” deals. Low prices alone won’t cut it. Spend some time personalizing your site, give people some details on you and your business, make sure there is a support email, get some customer references. Include on your site what you would like to see if you were shopping on an unknown site (with an awesome price on a TV).

Don’t be a Wall Flower. Communicate with potential shoppers via a corporate blog (you’re reading this…I’m sure consumers will read yours…unless it’s boring…but then again, so is this and you continue to read this…whatever, write a damn blog already). Log on to Meetup.com, attend some local functions, and discuss your business. The more people you communicate with, the more people will know (and will write about) you. This will increase shopper confidence that you’re not a Nigerian princess…unless you actually are.

Take Care of the Football. So you’re a legitimate business, with a professional looking site. Heck, you even write a well-known blog. Business is growing, life seems grand. That is until some bad guy steals your customers’ credit card and personal information – because you didn’t keep that information secure or have encrypted transactions. After that, you’ll have plenty of customer contact…via their lawyers. Take information security seriously (and let your customers know what you are doing to keep their information safe).

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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

KikScore.com – Online businesses check us out!

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Welcome to the first post for Kikscore.com. This is the inaugural post.

If you read this blog……..all of your dreams will come true. This is the first post for the KikScore blog. Here is a brief introduction of the people, the company and the product.


We are 8 of us from Virginia to Washington DC to Denver that have come together to launch KikScore. This entire product was launched on nights and weekend work while working our day job so we are all pretty darn proud of pulling this product launch off. We have different skills sets from product development, business development, engineering and technology, scoring model development, legal, operations, watching movies, rooting for football teams that perpetually let us down and wanting desperately to act in a Jean Claude Van Damme-Karate movie. Watch out for our video ads….the last skill/wish may just come true!


The people mentioned above make up the company the Interactive Security Group. ISG owns KikScore.com. The official movie of the company is SuperBad and Blades of Glory. For the science fiction lovers on our team, ok they get to say Star Trek is an officially movie of our Legal department.


Online merchants have always had a trust problem with online shoppers. Which merchant should a shopper trust? Which merchant is a lying, stealing, mustachioed, tank-top wearing, jack booted thug that is going to steal a shoppers identity or ruin the shoppers credit. This perception of shopping in the dark has cost online merchants billions of dollars a year in lost sales.

Merchants now have the solution to the problem of showing that they are trustworthy. They also get to use public information about themselves to demonstrate that they are trustworthy to shoppers. KikScore takes a vast amount of information from multiple sources and provides it in one place for a merchant to show their shoppers that they are trustworthy. Even better, the merchant will have all of this information scored into a trust score or the KikScore. In one place, merchants will be able to demonstrate trust so that they can increase their sales!

People.Company.Product = KikScore.com

Tell us what you think……because we are here to stay.

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