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Five Tips for New Entrepreneurs

Five Tips for New Entrepreneurs

Starting a new business is tough, scary, and kind of lonely. It takes a lot of work to turn an idea into something that makes you money. Many new business owners or entrepreneurs think that simply starting something is enough. It really takes networking and exposure of all types to get a product or service known well enough to start making money from it. Over the years I have tried many different methods in an attempt to grow my business. In this video, I discuss what has worked for me as I have grown my business over the years by sharing my top five tips for new entrepreneurs.

If you have any thoughts or tips you would like to share, please post them in the comments section below.

Business Networking Organizations:
Local Chamber of Commerce
BNI (Business Network International)
Local Rotary Clubs


Alternatives to the Paper Business Card

To be honest, I am tired of business cards. We are at a place in our connected world of technology where we can get information on pretty much anything on our smart devices in seconds. Why are we still handing out business cards? Over the last few years since I decided to form Hill Media Group, I decided that I did not want to waste time designing and printing a business card. Instead, I tested out ways that I could transfer my contact information to the intended recipient in a more effective way. I wanted my contact info to be digitized and ready for import into their contacts application of choice.

So now that you know how I feel about the printed business card, let me give you some awesome alternatives to the common business card which you can use to set yourself apart from the rest. My brief descriptions below are also accompanied by a tutorial video from iCopilot.Net.

Business Card Alternative Apps

The Card (iOS)Website
The Card is an electronic business card app for your iPhone. You simply input your contact details and the app makes it easy to email that information to the recipient. All you have to do is launch the app, put in your contacts email address which you can get by asking them for it, then add tags to help you keep your contacts organized and hit send. The app also syncs those new email addresses you collected in the process to your Google Contacts account that comes standard with any Gmail or Google Apps account.

Checkout the tutorial on The Card at iCopilot.Net – The Card for iPhone Tutorial

Evernote Hello

Evernote Hello (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry)Website
Evernote Hello connects to your Evernote account, which you can get for free over at Evernote makes it easy to collect pretty much anything and keep it organized in Notebooks. Think of it as having a nice paper notebook organizer for each subject except instead of paper, it’s in your phone, computer and on the web for easy access. Evernote Hello allows you to collect and share contact details. If the other person has an Evernote Hello profile and the app on their phone, you can simply swap contact details with each other using the magical power of technology. You can also manually enter the contact details or have the recipient manually enter their details. It also prompts them to take a headshot using the phones front facing camera. If they give you a business card, you can scan it and hand the card back to them. Explain to them that you went green before it was cool.

Checkout the tutorial on Evernote Hello at iCopilot.Net – Evernote Hello Tutorial

Bump (iOS, Android)Website
Bump revolutionized the way people shared contacts by creating an app that allows you to swap contacts by bumping phones. You download their free app, create your profile in the app and then swap contacts with a bump. The other user simply has to have a Bump account and the app open as well. The app uses your position and the position of your contact by GPS and magically connects your phones to share contacts. The bump activates it. The secure connection is then ended and you can both go on your marry way. Bump also allows you to send photos, videos, documents other apps and other contacts using the Bump app. As a last resort, you can always email the card to your prospective contact if they do not have Bump installed on their phone.

Checkout the tutorial on Bump at iCopilot.Net – Bump App Tutorial

If you must accept a paper business card you can scan it into your phone using Evernote Hello or Cardmunch from Linkedin to import the cards data into your phone using amazing OCR text recognition technology and then proceed to crumple the card up in the most amazing fashion as see in the above video. There are also services that scan and transcribe business cards for you. I currently use to scan and archive all of my business cards and business expense receipts.

Of course I had to recreate the business card drop scene from the Youtube video.



How Well Do People Really Know You?

How well do people really know you? I have worked in a couple of different industries over the years but nothing very confusing. I’ve been doing website design for a long time and for the last six years I have also been a wedding photographer. Online I have marketed myself as a wedding photographer. In face-to-face and at networking events I market myself as a website designer. I feel that as a website designer I have more of a tangible offering to the general public than I do as a wedding photographer. There are not too many people wandering around networking events looking for a wedding photographer. What surprises me is that I get asked the question, “what do you actually do,” very often, as if I only focus on one and pretend to do the others. If somebody follows me on Facebook or twitter than they probably know that I am a photographer. This is because I post a lot of photos and talk about my camera often. Most of the people that I network with locally who are my friends on Facebook or twitter know that I am a web designer and also a photographer. But what about the people that don’t know me on a personal level, the people that have never met or heard of me before? What information will they find when they search for me? This is a good question to ask yourself. The reason that I decided to write on this topic is because I was using a new iPhone app called Evi which is a competitor to iPhones Siri. This app allows you to speak in search terms, and ask it questions. So obviously the first thing I wanted to do was ask it “who is Jerad Hill.” The first thing he responded with was “Jerad Hill the technology journalist.” This threw me off because I’ve never had anyone referred to me as a technology journalist. However it does make sense because of my websites DailyAppShow.Com, iCopilot.Net and StateofTech.Net. Both of those websites get a lot more traffic than my photography and web design websites combined. I am not sure what search components drive the results that Evi gave me but what it did tell me is that the computer, which is the most linear thinker there is, thinks I’m a technology journalist. This added yet another job description into the mix.

We cannot allow our connections with the social networks to be the only place that people can go to figure out what it is that we do for work. Even friends of mine that I have had on social networks for years get confused about what it is that I do when I start talking to them. I have found that social network friends, meaning friends that I have on social networks but are not friends in person, have less of an idea what I do because I often focus on my personal life on my social networks. I made a decision along time ago not to be a business touting robot on social networks. I want people to see me as a person, a husband, a father and Christian before they see other things. Of course if anyone is paying any attention they will notice that I do talk about what I do for a living and often post about related subjects. I want to make it easy for people to know what it is that I do for a living but at the same time I don’t want them to associate me only with my job title. The reason that I want to make it easy is that I have a different job titles in different industries which is confusing for some people to to comprehend. Even though it is the 21st century and people often wear multiple hats throughout their lives and even at the same time, people still associate you with one job. Here are some of things that I have found out when it comes to using social networks and websites to promote yourself as a business person.

The first thing is that regardless of how interesting you think you are, people are only going to remember a set amount of things about you. I will even say that they will most likely only remember things about you that they can associate with themselves. There may be other things that they remember, but only if they can associate with them in one way or another. Women usually remember that I’m a photographer because I post pictures of weddings and my kids. Most of the women I know have no idea that I have been doing website design for over 12 years unless I tell them or unless they went out of their way to find out on their own. Guys are even quicker to make associations which probably has to do with our linear way of thinking. Because of this you want to be careful how many things you throw out there at once. People only remember a set amount of things so don’t leave it to chance, make sure they remember the important ones which are your main focus.

On Facebook I decided that I wanted people to associate me with being a husband and a father to my kids. Most of the things that I post about have to do with my family. I decided this because I want to try my best to set an example in a world where husbands and fathers are not that interested in their titles. Don’t get me wrong, I am no where near perfect, my wife can attest to that. I rarely, very rarely post anything about website design. Because of that, the majority of my Facebook friends probably have no idea that I am a website designer. It is much easier for people to associate me with photography because I’m always posting photos of my kids, and they are pretty darn good photos at that 😉 That is okay with me because at this period in my life I would prefer to grow my photography business over my website design business. I get enough website design clients from my website and referrals from my lovely past clients. This is not to say that I couldn’t always use new business. New business is always good.

On twitter when I’m not trying to be funny I’m usually trying to add value some way. I feel that that is a good use of twitter, adding value. I don’t know all of my twitter followers, I actually know a very small fraction of them personally however because of the short form post length I feel it is best used for sharing short bits of good information, or short puns, because I like making jokes. I don’t do this nearly often enough. I feel that if I provide enough value people will wonder what it is that I do and look deeper into what I offer. The link I provide in my twitter profile is a link to a special page on my website that shares information I think would be relevant to people who find me on twitter. Even on twitter I post very little about website design even though Twitter is a much better demographic for sharing web related information then Facebook is due to the fact that more tech-centric people are on Twitter.

The point of why I am writing this is that you need to have some sort of a focus if you want or expect people in your general sphere of influence to refer business your way. If you expect people to think about you when someone mentions that they need to find a new insurance agent, then you need to talk about work from time to time. It is actually quite easy. I often post short posts on Facebook and Twitter about a wedding as I am shooting it. Sometimes I even take a few Instagram photos at the wedding or have someone take one of me with my iPhone.

When Myspace started to take off I saw that social network as a way to bullhorn my message to a large group of people with out having to leave the comfort of my own home. Over the years my message has changed but I am still using Social Networks to share what I stand for in this world and occasionally, what I do for a living. I suggest you find a way to do this yourself and see what happens. People will start to see what you are passionate about and associate you with those passions.


Business Cards for the BNI Modesto Nooners

The BNI Modesto Nooners is a business networking chapter of the worldwide BNI. BNI stands for Business Network International. I have been a member of BNI for almost 4 years and I have never had to spend money on advertising. My BNI chapter is always on the look out for potential referrals for me as I am with them.

I wanted the card to be something that if found sitting on a table would beg a passerby to pick it up and take a look. I think this card does just that. This is the first Modesto Nooners business card.

BNI Modesto Nooners Business Cards

For more information about the Modesto Nooners visit their website:


Twittastic Networking in Modesto

Modesto Tweetup AvatarLast Wednesday about 50 Modesto locals collectively showed up at Hero’s Pizza to socialize and network. Those in attendance ranged from homemaker Moms to Presidents of large companies in our area. All of us had one thing in common, we all used the social network called Twitter. If you are unsure as to what this thing called Twitter is, watch the video titled “Twitter in Plain English“. The event was called The Modesto Tweetup (@modestotweetup) and was only advertised by word of mouth through Twitter itself. Less than a week before the event Lloyd Gomez (@lloydgomez) did some graphics for posters and a quick tee shirt design. Income generated from the shirt sales went to support the March of Dimes. I witnessed quite a few people including myself purchasing shirts. In fact I am wearing mine as I write this!

Modesto Tweetup Shirt

Using we linked up 2 laptops to big screens which displayed tweets live on the screen so we could experience the reach a group of local twitter’ers have all at the same time. My laptop (pretty mac) and Daniel’s laptop (meh Dell) (@danielversola) ran the screens. Naturally, I brought a camera and took pictures which are available on my Flickr account.

This Tweetup was the 3rd in succession for Modesto, the first two were impromptu dinner gatherings. The success of the 3rd Modesto Tweetup spurred @lloydgomez, @danielversola, @BDUBweitl and @jeradhill (me) to start planning right away for the 4th Modesto Tweetup which is scheduled for May 20th at Hero’s Pizza in Modesto. The purpose of the Tweetups are to get together for networking and socializing. Our goal is to always have a philanthropic connection to each gathering such as our support of the March of Dimes at the Tweetup last week.

It will be exciting to see what happens at the next Tweetup. If you are a Twitter user, please make sure to follow @modestotweetup so you know what is happening. If you would like to get involved, feel free to contact me, we would love to hear your ideas.

See you on Twitter. Follow me at