The first two months of the year are gone and I for one find it hard to believe that the year is passing so quickly. Time does that. It just rhythmically ticks on into the future with or without our consent. What about my plans, goals, and future? I have a big whiteboard in my study that I use as a calendar; it is now March (60 days into the new year) and I have not used it once. It still says January at the top with a blank grid beneath it. I don’t have time to plan my time!
So why all the fuss about time? Well this week’s Freshpreneur POP is about a young entrepreneur from Honolulu, Hawaii, Sharon Kim, who has created a planner to document, coach and buoy up the ones you love in what may be the last moments you have with them on this earth. It is a planner for cancer patients.
“While my mom was battling cancer, I realized that there was no tool to help us stay organized with all the information pertaining to her health,” explains Sharon. “My family and I were struggling to keep track of her medications, symptoms, mood, diet, etc. so I started to make my own daily planner for it. After she passed away, I quit my job and dedicated my life to creating a tool that'll help guide cancer patients and caregivers towards recovery.”
“Every year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste. If all this waste was put on trucks they would go around the world 24 times.” This quote is from TheWorldCounts.com, and many other such statistics are readily available when searching online. The world is our most precious commodity—without it life would not exist.
There are many countries and political systems around the world, and each treats it (the world) a bit differently. I currently live in Southeast Asia and the pollution from these emerging markets and cultures is astonishing. Not to excuse them, but typically the environment and other social costs take a back seat to the economical and/or political focuses.
Let’s look at America. Although it is considered a first-world nation, it has plenty of environmental issues to solve. “We are operating in completely unsustainable ways. We have a waste problem in our society and a resource problem in our society,” says Alex Freid founder of Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN).
What happens when a group of skateboarders, from Hawaii, introduce skateboarding and its concept to a city of people who have never been exposed to it before? Well, it didn't take long for Grant McCartney and crew to find out. As soon as they began skating in the city of Jaipur, India, they were welcomed by all age groups, especially the kids.
Being pleasantly surprised by the city's reception of the sport, as well as knowing the impact skateboarding can have on the youth, the crew from Hawaii has decided to help set up a skate park in Jaipur. To gather enough funds for the park, they are reaching out to the crowd for support. As explained on their project page, "We have the plans, the builders, a park management team and an eager community, so now we are just looking to raise some funds. "
If you are a fan of The Lean Startup, then you might want to pay attention to this Kickstarter campaign. Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup has decided to take an exploratory approach to his next written venture. Ries will leverage Kickstarter’s vast network to gauge the effectiveness and application of the book.
”The campaign is a chance for me to further test the ideas that I’ve been exploring with my startup and corporate clients for years.”
Over the last four years, Ries has interacted with and consulted many organizations concerning his Lean Startup concept from multinationals to startups to governments. Along the way he has witnessed the struggles and successes that these organizations experience. And whether large or small, public or private, there are commonalities spanning the organizational gamut that can be held useful for any and all entrepreneurs, investors, and business people.
Not the best way to start out a post, but I want you to take a minute and think about one or two simple items that you possess, specifically the ones you may take for granted. If you take a step back and think about it, more than a couple of items may come to mind.
We use countless everyday items, that in many cases, we wouldn't think about not having. However, what may not seem much to us, may mean a substantial amount to others.
For example, when we talk about going to school, having a backpack is at the core what a student needs. For us, it's not whether or not we have one, but rather what brand, color, superhero, etc. it is. Unfortunately, that's not the case for some school children.
Recognizing the importance of a backpack needed for school, Freshpreneur's very own Justin Rogers, an English teacher residing in Vietnam, and his team are working on a project that aims to provide backpacks for kids in need. Currently, they are in the process of running an Indiegogo campaign, hoping to raise enough funds, so that they can provide one of the most basic needs for 300 grade school students.
Jason Liu, the CEO of KidStarter (correct, not Kickstarter), brought on Joyce Yeung of Storied Up to develop the story for his Indiegogo campaign. Yeung comes from a successful corporate background, where at age 30 she had nearly flown one million miles around the globe. All of this business travel plus having a baby drove her to abandon the corporate track for the entrepreneurial consultancy, which is now in its sixth month.
Liu heads the team of contractors at KidStarter, which has experienced incremental success in its Dallas, Texas home base. Operating in the wake of the Maker Movement (see the documentary which will be aired in Dallas theaters), KidStarter seeks to reinvigorate youth when it comes to STEM topic education.
Wow—you have got to check out this Kickstarter! I am an entrepreneur, and as an entrepreneur I am always looking for ways to improve my business and to create experiences that I can draw upon in the future. For today’s feature I spoke with Monika Kanokova and had a very enlightening conversation. Our discussion lasted 45 minutes which was cut short because I had to run to the grocery store before my wife got home (to which I was late—oops).
Kanokova is a freelancer, but prior to that she worked for a firm in Berlin, Germany. The firm was planning to relocate her, but was going back and forth on it. Instead, Kanokova decided to place her future in her own hands and quit. Being a dedicated and skilled employee, she managed to maintain clout with her business network, which naturally followed her on this entrepreneurial journey.
This is a great lesson for us all. Whatever role or job you find yourself in do it well, because you are creating relationships that will last well beyond your current business title. From these relationships Kanokova has been able to bring to life her book This Year Will Be Different.
“This Year Will Be Different is a practical guide to learn about tips and tricks from great female entrepreneurs. It's filled with stories and interviews with women who are now making money as bloggers, designers, consultants, photographers and many other great professions.”
This is one of the first things that you will read on Monika Kanokova’s Kickstarter campaign page for her book This Year Will Be Different. Kanokova has endeavored to interview 23 women entrepreneurs to gather the essence of their stories and success. The interviews are in depth and fully transcribed. Some of the themes explored through these women are their varied backgrounds. This includes education and early pursuits, to finding their business ideas, to business model changes, to long-term goals and aspirations, to launching their businesses, to finding investors, to online presence and more.
To date, the book will have 24 chapters, each with a specific theme geared toward budding entrepreneurs and start-ups. One of Kanokova’s core beliefs is that success comes to those who give back. She expressed, “The people that are more successful than other people are those that share their story with others. If you share what you do people will come to you for this service.”
Backers can obtain a digital download compatible with Kindle and iPad of This Year Will Be Different for $10. For $20, you can receive a signed copy of the book, and for an additional $5 you can have your name added to the back of the book as a crowdfunding backer.
I have backed this project and am greatly anticipating the February arrival of my signed copy of This Year Will Be Different. After speaking with Monika Kanokova, my decision to back the project was validated.
One of the best ways to get your business out of a rut is to step back far enough so that you can see your world from a distance, and then compare it to that of someone else’s. We are all trying to put food on the table so to speak and we all have the same issues to overcome. ”Take the essence of others people’s stories and relate them to your personal problems—make it applicable,” says Kanokova.
We all love rags-to-riches stories, even though they are neither realistic nor representative, yet we get caught up in their allure. Real success stories take time and dedication. This Year Will Be Different steps through 23 women’s journeys from hobby to monetized success and that POPs!
Now it is up to you. Will this year be different?
Monika's Kickstarter Campaign
Entrepreneurialism perhaps was once uniquely the American dream, but has now transcended many countries and cultures. Albeit, there is still a great divide in the entrepreneurial universe. This divide is not partial to geography or race but to gender—skewed toward men leaving women entrepreneurs severely underrepresented.
DreamRise is an organization that is trying to tip the scale in favor of women, or at least in that direction. The organization, headed by founder and CEO Jacqueline Sofia, wants to create a crowdfunding platform strictly and specifically for female entrepreneurs in the Middle East. Sofia has spent the last three years in Amman, Jordan where she has come to know first hand the challenges for women wanting to start their own businesses.
“Being a female founder in the Middle East and having your own company and your own business for some of these women has been extremely rewarding,” says Sofia. Her company, DreamRise, is trying to tackle inequality for women in a place that is teeming with problems and negative connotation, the Middle East. The Kickstarter campaign is to launch a crowdfunding platform and online magazine to help amplify the voices of women. The catalyst for traffic and exposure to the proposed platform will be its niche focus on female entrepreneurs, firstly those in the Middle East.
“The way we approach crowdfunding is from a completely different perspective. We approach it through the narrative of these women and of course our focus is women specifically. We’re looking at the stories of these women and their businesses and we’re bringing them to the forefront of crowdfunding,” stated Sofia.
The campaign page lists that they are currently working with three women entrepreneurs and have a staff of writers and bloggers. They are currently accepting submissions from Middle Eastern female entrepreneurs.
“The problem is that women don’t have access to capital and resources the same way that men do…[they don’t] have a lot of access to physical assets [they] can put up for collateral,” explained Sofia in her video pitch.
Crowdfunding is taking off at an impressive rate and new platforms are emerging constantly. What will uniquely position each platform is its niche, being that Kickstarter and Indiegogo are each behemoths catering to the masses.
DreamRise has such a niche. It is focused on a specific demographic where the opportunity is great and competition is few (if any). The cause behind the venture is great and earns a solid POP from The Freshpreneur.
DreamRise's Kickstarter Campaign
Well, it was bound to happen, and I'm excited it's happening now. This marks the first (and definitely not last) shameless plug that we will be doing here at The Freshpreneur. As both Justin and I prepare to launch our individual projects in the first quarter of 2015, I've decided to learn a few lessons by utilizing crowdfunding as the means to raise funds for a movement that I believe in.
2014 marks the fifth year that I have participated in the global movement called Movember. Movember, a combination of mustache (or Mo') and November, is focused around the idea of men growing mustaches during the month of November in order to raise awareness and funds for prostate and testicular cancer research. At beginning of the month, we all start out with a clean shave, and throughout the month we water, nurture, and care for our upper-lip friend.
Fortunately, this cause is more than just about growing a fine Tom Selleck mustache. It's about the impact that we can all have towards changing the face of men's health. Now, before jumping into what Movember has been able to accomplish, let's take a look at a couple important facts:
Since 2003, Movember has educated many, while raising a substantial amount of funds that have gone towards research and awareness. In 2013, over four million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas (ladies that support the cause) participated in the movement and raised almost $580 million combined.
As I have done the past five years, I plan on raising as much as I can to contribute to the movement's total amount. Thanks to family and friends, our team was able to raise over $1,300 last year. This year, I'm doing things a bit differently. By using the crowdfunding website Tilt, I have decided that I'm going the all or nothing approach. Plain and simple, either I raise my goal, or fall flat on my face. My project tilts (is successful) at $512.88, with my target goal being set at $1,000.
When it comes to rewards for your contribution towards my goal, boy are you in for a treat. Aside from a thank you note, you'll also will be receiving a picture of the following:
Let's face it, having only one leg shaved is extremely ridiculous and even more embarrassing.
This isn't a typical game changing project that we usually post. However, it's a project that I have put my efforts into, going back to 2010. It's crucial that young men are aware of testicular cancer,and it's just as crucial for older men to be familiar with prostate cancer. Regardless of age, men need to get checked each year, in order to make sure that they are cancer-free, or to be able to catch it early on.
The potential of this project may not mean much to the overall picture, but it's still piece of the puzzle. I would be flattered to have your support on this journey, as I do my part to help change the face of men's health.
Overall, growing a mustache to fight cancer POPs.
Shawhin's Campaign Page
Pictures of Tom Selleck's Notorious Mustache