Startup

Kenyan Entrepreneur Changing How Films Are Consumed In Africa

Movie Mtaani is an online platform that has been existence for the past nine months. It was launched in mid-2017. Movie Mtaani aggregates Kenyan movies for easy access and viewership as well as the promotion of Kenyan films.

This company has three employees, Edwin Mbugua, the CEO and founder Dave Ngiri, the marketing manager and Collins Mugala, the production manager. The team has experience in IT, film production and distribution.

We caught up with Edwin Mbugua the founder, to learn about the inspiration to launch the platform and their future plans. 

                                                               Edwin Mbugua – CEO and Co-Founder 

Startup Grind: What was the motivation to begin Movie Mtaani? 

Edwin Mbugua: The idea for Movie Mtaani came out of curiosity and the need to easily access locally produced films. I would get a lot of queries from film producers on the different distribution channels they could take advantage of. The available channels at that time were media stations or YouTube.

I ended up online and I discovered that the challenge our films face is that they are scattered everywhere. Having this information, I brainstormed with a close friend on the idea of having a central place for Kenyan movies and that is how Movie Mtaani was born.

Startup Grind: How did you raise money to run Movie Mtaani?

Edwin Mbugua:  The seed capital to build Movie Mtaani came from the founders personal savings. In order to sustain the platform, we are planning to run adverts and premium content. We will also have movie nights where we will partner with film producers to showcase their films at selected places, for example, we are planning to hold the first ever Kisumu Movie Night on June 3rd at Dunga Hill Camp.

Startup Grind: What is the biggest challenge to pulling off such a platform?

Edwin Mbugua: The main challenge has been the cost of getting the content from film producers, especially for exclusive content.

Startup Grind: How do you market? What channels work best?

Edwin Mbugua:  Currently, the movies are marketed through our social media platforms with a lot of focus on Facebook and Twitter and through our subscriber’s mail list.

Startup Grind: How do you select movies to feature?

Edwin Mbugua:  We have a film producer who reviews the submitted movies for quality purposes which are then uploaded to the platform. We have old and new releases ranging from action, drama, comedies and TV series. The films have been filmed in English, Swahili, Kikuyu, Luo, Kisii and other languages.

Startup Grind: How do the film industry players benefit?

 Edwin Mbugua:  Film producers benefit when they lease their content to us for an agreed fee for a certain time as well as for the upcoming films we spread the word out there giving visibility. With our platform, we give a level playing field to both experienced and upcoming film producers. 

Startup Grind: How is the movie culture like in Nairobi and Kenya? What more can Kenyans do to support the movie culture?

Edwin Mbugua: The movie culture in Nairobi used to be vibrant some time back in the days when people used to flock cinemas to watch international films. Now things are again starting to look up with Kenyan films getting acceptance. Looking at Kenya, we have a tendency of giving preference to international movies giving blame that we can’t access our movies. Movie Mtaani tends to change this narrative by aggregating Kenyan movies for easy access and viewership as well as promoting Kenyan films.

How Kenyans can support the movie culture is to first appreciate our own by watching our own films when they premier — borrowing from Nigeria (Hollywood) and India (Bollywood).

Kenyan movies have shown that they have are world class by the various international awards received the likes of Kati Kati, Pumzi and recently Watu Wote.

Startup Grind: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs in the movie streaming space?

Edwin Mbugua:  Within the short time, we have been in existence knowing what your audience wants is key.

Startup Grind: What is the big dream?

 Edwin Mbugua:  Movie Mtaani aspires to showcase Kenyan talent not only Kenya but to Africa and the world at large one film at a time.

Startup Grind: What can schools do to prepare their students to join the Film & TV industry?

Edwin Mbugua:  Partnering with industry players and institutions so as to equip students with current skills as film and Tv industry is dynamic. 

Startup Grind: Can someone purchase the movies? Will there be a premium platform in the future?

Edwin Mbugua: Yes. We are currently building a feature where subscribers can purchase the movies. The platform will have both freemium and premium exclusive Kenyan content as we continue stocking our content library.

Startup Grind: What is your parting shot?

Edwin Mbugua:  The demand for Kenyan films is there going by the feedback we are receiving within the short period launched and it is with these that we aim to showcase to our subscribers both online and offline.

“Look out for Kisumu movie night happening at Dunga hill camp on June 3rd, 2018 featuring Kenyan films.”

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Jeremy WebbKenyan Entrepreneur Changing How Films Are Consumed In Africa
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How to Build a Social Media Strategy for Your Startup

Do you own a startup? Do you want to make it successful?

“Running A Business Is Easy.” — Nobody ever said this.

You have created a great product or service, but that’s not the hard part. The hard part is to convince people why should they care about your business and tell them what it can do for them. According to this report, “Generating relevant traffic and leads are the top marketing challenges for a business.”

Social Media

Social media can be your secret weapon to increase brand awareness and lead generation for your startup. The best part? It’s cost-effective mean of marketing. It’s not a channel that you SHOULD use, it has become a channel that you MUST use. It’s the most popular and effective medium to connect with your target audience and get your brand in front of them.

“Almost all the businesses and startups have social media profiles, then why do most of them fail?” I hear you ask.

You’re right, startups have social media pages, but the most common mistake they make is: NOT having a social media strategy. Only a correct plan and strategy can help you to improve brand awareness, customer acquisition, and lead generation.

71 percent of customers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. Don’t worry! In this article, you’ll find five proven ways to build a social media strategy for your startup.

1. Build (or improve) Social Media Profiles

As I mentioned, social media has immense power to attract people, generate new leads and increase revenue. But it only works when you do it right, otherwise you’ll struggle to get desired results. What to do then?

Before creating a social media strategy establish your mission, objectives and goals that you need to achieve. Now check which social media platforms meet your objectives. You don’t have to be on every social network because each platform has its own audience and USP. Build yourself a strong social media page with each platform your enter. Make your social media page with complete business information and proper image sizes. Here’s a guide for social media image sizes.

It’s Time To Improve And Update Them.

Do you have existing social media accounts? It’s time to improve and update them. Take a look at your social media statistics and demographics to understand your audience’s behavior and how it’s working. Choose the platform that meets your needs.

Julia C. Campbell as a voice for social media updates and improvements put it best here:

“Pick one network and do it well first. Choose one that you like to use personally and are comfortable using. Master it.”

Facebook’s Audience Insights tool allows you to check comprehensive demographics information.

Image via my personal Facebook account

2. Create a Content Strategy

You must create a content strategy and distribution plan before starting posts on your company’s social media accounts. Without a definite direction, you’ll be distracted. A clear definition of your desired state is going to allow you to use gap analysis to create a laser-focused action plan that is going to take you to your destination.

Here are some questions to get started:

  • Who’s your target audience for a particular content?

  • What types of content do you need to publish on social media?

  • What’s the frequency of your content?

  • What’s your plan to promote it?

First, answer these questions. Build a strategy and share the content your audience will enjoy. “I don’t know what to post on social media,” I hear you say.

A Few Ideas

If you have a startup for a marketing tool, start sharing content about marketing in form of blog content, videos, infographics, podcasts, presentations, etc. You can also share “Motivational Monday” images. Share inside photos of your office culture, this will give your followers insight into your company.

I recommend you to share relevant content from other sources regularly.

Always be consistent with your content. Follow the most popular 80-20 rule. 80 percent of your content should be informative and the other 20 percent can be promotional.

Piktochart regularly shares graphics on their Twitter page.

3. Engage with your audience

Social media is for conversations. Engaging your audience on this channel can help you to build a community of fans for your brand. It can also help create fruitful relationships with your customers.

First, you need to post interesting content that encourages people to take an action. It could be a Twitter poll, a funny graphic, a video, or a product photo that encourages your audience to tag their friends.

How do you feel when people engage with your posts and comments? It feels awesome, right?

It gives you an opportunity to make a conversation and understand your audience. Here are some ways that you can consider:

  • Respond to these interactions appropriate and answer their queries.

  • Take the conversation further by asking a question.

  • There’s a negative comment. Don’t rush, respond positively and try to resolve the issue.

  • Run contests, ask people to take a specific action, and offer incentives.

When you respond to customers, they’ll more likely to purchase from you and will share a positive experience with more people.

Check out this Facebook Post of Modcloth. They did a great job here:

4. Go Live!

It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re, startups always look for a cost-effective social media marketing strategy. We live in the fast food world where people need everything instant. Facebook live is a great medium to produce instant content. You MUST include live video in your content plan.

Live Video

It’s a fresh and unique way to provide appealing content to your audience. Popular brands already suing Facebook Live across the globe. Livestream discovered 80 percent consumers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog and 82 percent prefer live video from a brand to social posts.

Use Live videos to ask questions, company culture, event, or product launch. It drives real-time engagement. Encourage your audience to comment and respond to their questions. Don’t forget to calling out their names. It makes people feel special to hear their names in your live video.

Here’s an example: Embed Code

<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftarget%2Fvideos%2F10154487189168120%2F&show_text=0&width=560″ width=”560″ height=”315″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>

5. Use Email to Support your Social Media

Do you think email and social media as a competing channels? You’re making a BIG mistake. Smart businessmen take these two channels as a team player to fulfil their purpose. Be a smart marketer and use the power of email to support your social media marketing.

Jay Baer put it best at MarketingSherpa Email Summit:

“Email and social media have an important part to play in the conversation between company and consumer. They are strategically, operationally and tactically aligned — or if they aren’t, they should be.”

Don’t forget to place social media follow button in your email campaigns and make it shareable. This act will help you to generate more reach and fans. Where you need to place the buttons in email: Above the fold OR below the fold?

I recommend you to Run an A/B test – Place the buttons above the fold in email A and below the fold in email B. And see the results.

In one study, marketers were asked: “Which marketing channels does your organization integrate with your email program?”

You can also send a dedicated email campaign to your subscribers and ask them to follow you. See how crocs does a great job:

I hope these five social media strategies will help you to grow your startup. Do you want to share something? Please drop your views here.

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Jeremy WebbHow to Build a Social Media Strategy for Your Startup
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Startup Have an App? Areas To Concentrate on For Success

There was a time where a business having an app seemed pretentious or was simply their main business model. With consumers becoming more technologically savvy on a daily basis many people turn to a company’s app for guidance. Most people never login to their bank accounts on the computer as they can simply use their phone to check the huge or meager balances.

Having an app is much like having a website was a little over a decade ago. An app helps legitimize a business but it can also delegitimize a business if it is poorly designed or frustrates users. The following are a few areas to concentrate on so the app can be as successful as possible.

Define What The Company Wants Out of the App

A company designing an app just because a competitor did so is not sufficient reasoning. If you are going to spend the money to have a great app developed then it has to do something for the business or provide convenience to customers. An ecommerce company would want seamless buying through their app instead of having to head to a desktop or a buggy mobile site.

An app that tracked investments could show you real time results of the stocks you have money in. Ad revenue can be huge for apps with large download numbers and this is where many gaming apps make their fortune. Define what you want out of the app then put into a place the creation strategy of doing so.

Test, Test, Then Test Again

You are going to have to test your company’s app more times than you can count. You don’t want to launch your first app only to have it shut down and freeze up consumer’s smartphones. This is the easiest way to find your app removed from the phone in just a few uses.

Do not just have your team test this but rather a group of people you would compensate to try to give tips on what could be better. Obviously expert testers will be able to find bugs quite easily but cannot give opinions of a normal consumer as they are an expert in apps. Even if you have to delay the launching of an app this should be done instead of putting out a low quality app. The app you create will reflect on your business almost as much as your website so this is something to keep in mind.

Make The App Very Easy To Navigate

One mistake that many app developers make is thinking that the users will be as app savvy as themselves. Digital experience monitoring is defined by Appoptics as DEM and it is the monitoring strategy used to quantify and to optimize applications and digital touchpoints to provide a seamless user experience. Gartner verbosely defines DEM as follows:

“Digital experience monitoring is an availability and performance monitoring discipline that supports the optimization of the operational experience and behavior of a digital agent, human or machine, as it interacts with enterprise applications and services. For the purposes of this evaluation, it includes real-user monitoring (RUM) and synthetic transaction monitoring (STM) for both web- and mobile-based end-users.”

The use of those who specialize in UX should be paramount as well. The perfect app is much like an equation with every part being of some importance. Taking the time to develop the perfect app can change the trajectory of a business quite quickly. Do not skimp on expenses when it comes to your company app as your app could be the only portion of your company that a customer interacts with.

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Jeremy WebbStartup Have an App? Areas To Concentrate on For Success
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Content is NOT DEAD – follow the BUZZ

During our April event, StartupGrind Tel Aviv hosted Shaul Olmert, CEO and founder of Playbuzz. As a platform Playbuzz provides a storytelling platform for publishers and brands ( founded in 2012, raised $66M to date, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars).

Olmert shared his journey, and how Playbuzz became an overnight success, growing from 3,000 users in the first month to over 50M within six months with no advertising budget. They decided to solely use Facebook.

In Olmert’s words, the story of Playbuzz shows how “content is still king!”

Olmert shared with us several tips for entrepreneurs:

Don’t lose faith:

Olmert almost lost faith in himself and went for soul-searching. He had to isolate all the noise and ask himself what he really wanted to do, and what he was good at. This period is what led him to start Playbuzz, that came from the heart.

The big picture:

The main role of the CEO is to remind everyone WHY they are doing what they’re doing – making sure the team preserves the business focus, reminding them what they are trying to achieve. 

Choose what NOT to do:

There is a certain pace in which an organization can grow, so you need to figure out what you are banking on. Each day you have to choose what you are NOT going to do, not only what you will.

Confidence:

Don’t let anyone tell you that a market is dead: Contrary to other founders, Olmert thinks that if you really believe in something, you should do it. Even if others tell you (as he was told), that there is no addressable market. As it turned out, Playbuzz was simply ahead of the times in terms of interactive content.

Partnerships: choose the right investors:

Choosing the right partners on your journey as a startup is crucial. Choosing investors is like choosing partners for life – you want someone who will believe in your vision, and someone you can get along with.

People:

When hiring, don’t focus on the fluff: Don’t focus on where they went to school and what experience they have. It’s much more important that they understand the product and the grand vision, and that they really want to work with you.

Time:

Once a company starts growing, invest most of your time in the people: Hiring employees is like giving someone else the keys to your car – you have to trust them. This is why Olmert spends much of his time interviewing new employees, and getting to know those who work for him.

Fundraising:

Raise money when you can, not when you need it: Olmert advises that fundraising is a balance. You shouldn’t raise money when you are desperate — you want to come with leverage. However, you should also avoid raising too much money, because the more money you have, the more money you will spend (and at times you will do spend unnecessarily).

Powerful quote:

“Communication is the most important things in human life. And so much of it is done digitally, so if you can improve the communication, you can affect people lives. It’s beyond the industry and making more money, it’s about doing something that matters to people”

About Shaul Olmert:

Olmert grew up in Jerusalem. He was raised by a politician father and an artist mother. He took an early interest in movie-making and cinema. He served in the Israeli army creating instructive video content and then studied design and communications in Germany and the US. He worked as Biz Dev for Oberon Media and was later VP of digital at MTV.

When he returned to Israel, he realized he still didn’t have a clear picture of what he really wanted to do, or what he was really good at. Playbuzz is essentially the result of this soul-searching. Playbuzz enables its customers to distribute and monetize interactive stories that create better audience engagement.

The idea of Playbuzz resulted from the understanding that user attention equals monetization. Once great traffic is established, more advertisers want to advertise alongside the engaging content.

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Jeremy WebbContent is NOT DEAD – follow the BUZZ
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Content is NOT DEAD – follow the BUZZ

During our April event, StartupGrind Tel Aviv hosted Shaul Olmert, CEO and founder of Playbuzz. As a platform Playbuzz provides a storytelling platform for publishers and brands ( founded in 2012, raised $66M to date, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars).

Olmert shared his journey, and how Playbuzz became an overnight success, growing from 3,000 users in the first month to over 50M within six months with no advertising budget. They decided to solely use Facebook.

In Olmert’s words, the story of Playbuzz shows how “content is still king!”

Olmert shared with us several tips for entrepreneurs:

Don’t lose faith:

Olmert almost lost faith in himself and went for soul-searching. He had to isolate all the noise and ask himself what he really wanted to do, and what he was good at. This period is what led him to start Playbuzz, that came from the heart.

The big picture:

The main role of the CEO is to remind everyone WHY they are doing what they’re doing – making sure the team preserves the business focus, reminding them what they are trying to achieve. 

Choose what NOT to do:

There is a certain pace in which an organization can grow, so you need to figure out what you are banking on. Each day you have to choose what you are NOT going to do, not only what you will.

Confidence:

Don’t let anyone tell you that a market is dead: Contrary to other founders, Olmert thinks that if you really believe in something, you should do it. Even if others tell you (as he was told), that there is no addressable market. As it turned out, Playbuzz was simply ahead of the times in terms of interactive content.

Partnerships: choose the right investors:

Choosing the right partners on your journey as a startup is crucial. Choosing investors is like choosing partners for life – you want someone who will believe in your vision, and someone you can get along with.

People:

When hiring, don’t focus on the fluff: Don’t focus on where they went to school and what experience they have. It’s much more important that they understand the product and the grand vision, and that they really want to work with you.

Time:

Once a company starts growing, invest most of your time in the people: Hiring employees is like giving someone else the keys to your car – you have to trust them. This is why Olmert spends much of his time interviewing new employees, and getting to know those who work for him.

Fundraising:

Raise money when you can, not when you need it: Olmert advises that fundraising is a balance. You shouldn’t raise money when you are desperate — you want to come with leverage. However, you should also avoid raising too much money, because the more money you have, the more money you will spend (and at times you will do spend unnecessarily).

Powerful quote:

“Communication is the most important things in human life. And so much of it is done digitally, so if you can improve the communication, you can affect people lives. It’s beyond the industry and making more money, it’s about doing something that matters to people”

About Shaul Olmert:

Olmert grew up in Jerusalem. He was raised by a politician father and an artist mother. He took an early interest in movie-making and cinema. He served in the Israeli army creating instructive video content and then studied design and communications in Germany and the US. He worked as Biz Dev for Oberon Media and was later VP of digital at MTV.

When he returned to Israel, he realized he still didn’t have a clear picture of what he really wanted to do, or what he was really good at. Playbuzz is essentially the result of this soul-searching. Playbuzz enables its customers to distribute and monetize interactive stories that create better audience engagement.

The idea of Playbuzz resulted from the understanding that user attention equals monetization. Once great traffic is established, more advertisers want to advertise alongside the engaging content.

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Jeremy WebbContent is NOT DEAD – follow the BUZZ
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Advice to Startups from Shark Tank's Mr. Wonderful

Kevin O’ Leary visited Sacramento on April 19, 2018 to for the “Wealth Building Strategies from a Shark” Event. In 1999, he sold his business, The Learning Company to Mattel for $4.2 billion. O’Leary is also known as Mr. Wonderful on the long running TV show, Shark Tank. To date, he has invested over $8.5 million in over 40 companies that have pitched on Shark Tank.

Three Points for a Successful Pitch

During his presentation at the majestic Crest Theater, he covered three points for a successful startup pitch. In illustrating the points, he used Wicked Good Cupcakes, a company he invested on in Shark Tank, as an example of a great successful pitch. The founders covered his three points and received a $75K investment from O’Leary despite being a commodity that can easily be replicated (You can view their appearance on Shark Tank here).  Here are the three points:

1. Articulate the Opportunity in 90 Seconds or Less

When O’Leary listens to a pitch, in 90 seconds or less, he should be able to understand:

  • What the business does.
  • How it works.
  • What the opportunity is.
  • If the entrepreneur can’t convey the above in 90 seconds, it’s doubtful that he will make an offer. In the case of Wicked Good Cupcakes, the founders quickly explained their business and revenue. 

2. Why the Entrepreneur is the Right Team

O’Leary needs to feel confident that the entrepreneur is able to execute on their business plan. He often sees a great idea where he doesn’t have the confidence in the entrepreneur. As he stated, “Execution is critical.”  Using Wicked Good Cupcakes as an example, their product was wonderful, the founders were articulate and dynamic, and they already had a proven track record. 

3. Know the Numbers

Entrepreneur needs to demonstrate that they know and understand their numbers.  If they don’t know the numbers, they don’t know their business and as Kevin states, “deserves to burn in hell in perpetuity.”   He was impressed with the founders of Wicked Good Cupcakes because they knew their numbers cold; down to the penny.

O’Leary state that if an entrepreneur is able to cover these three points in their pitch, they would be in good shape. 

Why Women Entrepreneurs Make More Money

In terms of giving advice to entrepreneurs, O’Leary did an analysis of the companies he invested in; he found that that the women led companies performed better. In his analysis, the following are things that he found that woman consistently did better.

 1. Time Management

O’Leary stated that there’s a saying that if you want something done, give it to a busy mother.He found that woman were generally better in managing their time and completing tasks.He attributed this to their experience in managing a family where multi-tasking is learned skill.

2. Set Achievable Goals

In general, he found that woman set goals for their employees that were achievable.As a result, because the employees were able to meet their goals, morale was high.In contrast, he found that men often set very high goals that were often unachievable.(He called theses testosterone fueled goals).And in contrast because these goals were not achieved, morale was low.

3. Maintain Cultures that Have Less Employee Turnover

O’Leary found that woman were able to create a positive culture that had less employee turnover than their male counterparts.Looking at the previous point, as an example, because achievable goals were created, employees met their goals, morale was high, and thus people stayed with the company.Whereas in the situation where goals were unrealistic, employees were unable to meet their goals, morale was low and consequently turnover is high.

4. Assimilate Feedback to Enhance Customer Service

He also found that women were better listeners than men.Using that skill, they were able to take feedback from their customers and improve both their business process and service.

5. Protecting the Brand as a Core Principle

O’Leary found that woman did a much better job of protecting the brand of their business.For example an angry customer can do a lot of damage to a company’s brand by going on social media and venting their frustration.Being able to listen and address issues is a core to being able to protect the brand.

These five areas that he found where woman did better than men are also good points that every entrepreneur should heed.

I’m an avid fan of Shark Tank and to be honest, Kevin O’Leary was not my favorite. But after listening to his presentation and Q&A, I have better respect for him. One of the themes in his talk is that it’s much better to be brutally honest in business.

You do people a disservice if you tend to sugar coat.

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Jeremy WebbAdvice to Startups from Shark Tank's Mr. Wonderful
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Complaining Is Ruining Your Life

No matter how good things are, we all have a tendency to complain.

You know the term: First World Problems. 

But complaining adds no value to this world. Even worse, it attracts other complainers, and then they become your circle of influence, leading to a cycle of even more complaining.

It may sound obvious, but instead of complaining about the challenges you are facing, your time is better spent finding a solution and putting that solution into action. When you learn to act on your solutions and build the habit of not complaining, it can lead to a major shift in the quality of your life.

In this article, I want to share some thoughts on why complaining brings you and others down, how to stop perpetuating this cycle, and what to do instead of complaining. 

Once you understand these three things, you can harness your negative energy to focus on your path, not your past, and you will become unstoppable. 

Complaining Compounds Negativity

I used to spend a lot of my time beating myself up or complaining about myself to myself. My increasingly negative focus only created turmoil in my brain and trashed my self-confidence. It is tempting to complain to those around you, or on social media when you’re experiencing adversity in your life, but this is the last thing you should do. 

Research shows that people who complain a lot on their Facebook page are usually the ones who get unfollowed and unfriended the most.

It comes down to Newton’s third law of motion—every action has an opposite or equal reaction.

We all go through bad days and face challenges in our life, but that doesn’t mean we have to post our exact thoughts on social media sites. What’s more important is how you handle those problems.

Honestly? No one gives a shit about how much your girlfriend or boyfriend isn’t paying attention to you, or how your boss won’t give you that raise. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have their own problems to deal with every day.

In fact, it says more about your integrity if you remain cool under pressure. 

If your issue doesn’t require serious help from a health professional, then you should contact a friend and talk about what’s bothering you over the phone or in person. That’s a much smarter decision than to post your biased and negative thoughts on social media sites.

If your issues concern your financial situation, instead of whining about how you don’t have enough money, then you might want to consider working harder, getting a second job, or talking to someone who can help you reduce your debt. Maybe you continue to spend money instead of “doing without” for a while. 

Or maybe you’re someone who complains about “how fat you are.” As I said earlier, if you make a plan and follow through with it, you will achieve the results you want. For example, if you cut out all processed foods and refined sugars, and make it a priority to exercise every day, then you’ll start realizing new levels of weight loss.

To be certain, none of this advice is effective until you make a purposeful mental shift to think about what you want as your long-term results. Make sure every decision you make will have a positive effect on your life, or else, don’t do it.

Making these decisions isn’t always easy, in fact sometimes it can be confusing trying to understand the decision you need to make! When this happens you need to look outside yourself to better understand where you are vs where you are going.

Stop Complaining with a Dose of Perspective

A pivotal moment in my life occurred when I vowed to not complain about the wrong things. After working an exhausting eleven-hour day, I was mentally gearing up for my first 100 km ultramarathon race; it was the longest race I’d ever competed in. 

The race was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., which meant I’d be running during the night, when normally I’d be asleep. I calculated that the race would take me about 12.5 hours to complete, and I knew I had to focus on my path to get rid of all negative thoughts of fatigue during the run.

As I ran, I saw several homeless people sleeping under a bridge. My first thoughts were, “Damn, that looks comfortable.” Then I began thinking about how those homeless people looked while all curled up, and it made me feel grateful that I wasn’t homeless and that I had a bed to sleep in. More than that, I had a job, food, shelter, and water. 

I really had nothing to complain about, especially while running an ultramarathon. 

That sight kept me grounded. It reminded me what I already knew: after running such a strenuous race, I was usually too wrecked to give a shit about what material items I owned. As long as I had a bed to crash in and some grub to restore those lost calories afterward, that was really all that mattered.

I keep this perspective with me always, the visual stops complaining before it starts for me. My intention is not to offend – I’m not saying you do not have real problems. I simply know the best thing you can do when facing adversity in life is to anchor yourself with some perspective. Do not dwell on the past—choose to start acting for your future.

Substitute Complaining with Action

In my opinion, there is only one thing you should reflect on about your past: that is seeing how far you’ve come. This is another way to gain helpful perspective when you’re getting ready to take action on your plans. 

If you’re at the lowest point of your life right now, then know your reflection will begin with today—but don’t think about your life circumstances until one or two years from now. And don’t complain during this growth process. We know complaining compounds negativity.

So, where does taking action come into play? Simple.

You cannot take action on plans that do not exist. Once you’ve stopped complaining and made your plan it is time to take action and start following your path.

Remember, we focus on the path not the past.

If you’re someone who tends to dwell on the past and you keep reminding everyone about how life was thirty years ago, then you’re living in your own world. Just know that even though war and corruption are still in the news, we are living in the most advanced, easily-accessed, creative times. Learn to embrace what’s around you.

For me, I get frustrated when I hear people complain about things they can’t control. These things include gasoline prices, the stock exchange, and even “how things aren’t as great as they used to be.” It’s obvious the gas giants are the ones to blame for the escalating prices, but if you’re not going to do something about it, then keep your mouth shut. 

If you really care, think of something you can do to save on your gas expenses. Maybe you could buy an electric car or design an app that allows you to collaborate with the gas giants to offer discounted gas. I don’t care how you solve this problem, just don’t complain about the high price of gas if you’re not going to do anything about it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re eighteen or eighty and you’re reading this.

Just do what you can and don’t complain! None of us are entitled to anything. The world owes you nothing. Just the fact that you’ve been born and have the chance to live should be enough impetus for you to realize you can make anything happen. 

If you want something, work hard for it and don’t complain along the way.

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Jeremy WebbComplaining Is Ruining Your Life
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Employee Personal Life Management Tips Help Company Production

One misconception is that a company should only teach their employees things that will make the company more profitable. Teaching and helping improve certain skills or habits can make an employee a much more productive person at work — and at home.

Be proactive about helping your employees with help on things that they can work on personally as well as professionally. Nobody is perfect so everyone will have at least one personal thing they will want to work on to improve. You can assign these personal tasks monthly to help set goals and keep the team motivated.

Company wide initiatives and programs can help teams bond even if they do not frequently work together. The following are areas in an employee’s personal life that can impact their production that can be fostered by a company.

Physical Health

Physical health is one of the most important things when it comes to producing at a high level for long sustained periods. There cannot be a weight limit and you cannot criticize what someone eats but there are other methods.

Starting a health initiative where everyone takes the stairs or does not consume energy drinks for a month is a good start. Providing lunch is another way to hack employee physical health as many people would rather eat free food instead of lunch made at home or bought outside of the office.

There are so many healthy alternatives that actually taste delicious in comparison to when the health craze first began. Providing lunch also gives the company the ability to avoid foods that tend to make people sleepy like greasy foods or those high in sugar that lead to a crash.

Managing Their Money

The stress that is caused by money might not be as apparent to management as some people are great at hiding this. The worry caused by financial strain can lead to loss in productivity. The simple truth is that many people simply want to live above their means and end up in debt.

Bringing in a financial advisor to talk about investing expendable income instead of spending it then more can be an important lesson for many to learn. Getting the best returns on an investment should be the ultimate goal. With financial issues decreasing you might even see an uptick in morale as stress from lack of money can change a person.

Teaching employees how to make extra money by using their skills that they possess already can be a huge advantage. Those with great writing skills can start a blog that they can turn into a great stream of income.

This will take consistent work but the amount of bloggers that increase their family’s quality of life with this extra income is staggering. With influencer marketing becoming more and more popular it is possible to make even more money if you possess a loyal following on your blog.

Using Time Effectively

Time management throughout the day separates the incredibly productive people from those who cannot seem to hit their quota month after month. Asking employees to track their entire days using a program or app can allow them to see where they are wasting time during their day. For those high producers it can be important for the lower producers to see where most of the time is being spent during the day.

Training programs can be implemented on how you should go about your day in a certain position. Some positions it might be advantageous to knock out all of your emails early while in others the emails will just keep pouring in so it is better to do it once every couple of hours.

Helping your employees with the above three areas can help them live a higher quality of life. This will also allow them to be as productive for the company as possible which is the best outcome for both situations!

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Jeremy WebbEmployee Personal Life Management Tips Help Company Production
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What Your Logo Says About Your Startup

When starting a business there’s a lot to consider. Not only do you have to have a business plan and figure out how to get funding, but you also have to come up with a marketing strategy. At this point you haven’t even started to stock up on inventory, and you’ve got to create that website, and so much more.

Among all the other items on your to-do list, you also have to come up with the perfect logo to represent your business. Tools like Deluxe’s logo maker make it easy to create a logo on your own based on industry-specific templates—saving you both time and money— but there’s still a lot to consider.

Details you might have thought were insignificant can seriously impact how your consumers feel about your brand. Everything from the color and font to the design has meaning, even if it isn’t readily apparent, and it only takes 10 seconds for a customer to form an impression of your business based on its logo. Milton Glaser said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”

What some entrepreneurs don’t realize is that your logo is more than just a visual representation of your company—it sends a message about your brand. What does your logo say about your startup?

Color

Different colors hold different meanings. They evoke emotions, even if we don’t realize it consciously. The color of your logo can have a serious influence on how consumers and potential customers view your brand. A whopping 84.7 percent of consumers have reported that color was the main reason behind their purchase of a particular product, and 80 percent feel color increases brand recognition.

That said, you can see just how important color is to your design. So, what does the color of your logo say about your company?

Reds –

Red represents power, passion, energy, boldness, excitement, and love.

Purples –

Traditionally, purple represents nobility or royalty, wisdom, and creativity.

Blues –

Blue represents peace, trust, confidence, and caring.

Yellows –

Bright and happy, yellow represents joy, confidence, and optimism.

Oranges –

Orange represents energy, warmth, balance, and friendliness.

Greens –

The dominant color in nature, green represents the environment, health, good luck, growth, and generosity.

Black –

Black represents power, mystery, and sophistication.

Rainbow –

A combination of colors or rainbow design can represent positivity, playfulness, and whimsy.  

Font

Like color, the font you use sends out messages, too. There are thousands of different fonts you can choose from, and if you don’t like any of those, you can create your own. There are five main types of fonts, though.

Serif –

Serif fonts, like Times New Roman, have strokes at the ends of the letters and are considered traditional fonts that communicate authority, reliability, and respect.

Sans Serif –

Sans serif fonts like Calibri are those without the strokes at the ends of the letters. Sans serif fonts are considered more modern because they can be more easily ready in digital formats and communicate stability and objectivity.

Script-Like –

Script-like fonts, like Monotype Corsiva, look like cursive writing and are considered elegant, whimsical, and creative.

Display –

Display fonts are typically non-traditional and attention-grabbing, like Cooper Black. They are unique and expressive fonts.

Modern –

Modern fonts are sleek and expressive fonts like Century Gothic. They communicate progressiveness and strength and are chic and on-trend.

Symbols and Shapes

Just like colors and fonts, symbols and shapes send messages. There are three basic shapes you could use in your logo, geometric, organic, and abstract. Geometric shapes are basic ones like triangles, squares, and circles; organic shapes are things like flowers, leaves, and elements of the natural world.

Abstract symbols are representations of objects like people, signs, and icons. All these are typically composed of the same basic shapes, though.

Squares –

The structured shape of a square represents reliability and stability.

Circles –

Circles represent completion and harmony because they are infinite and connected.

Pentagons, hexagons, and octagons –

These shapes can be used to make your logo stand out as unique and attention-grabbing.

Triangles –

Triangles represent direction. Triangles that are pointed up represent power while triangles that are pointed down typically show instability.

No matter how small, your logo says a lot. When designing a logo, it’s important to consider everything from color to font and the symbols that layer into it. Logos hold a lot of meaning, and you want to be sure that yours sends the right message about your brand.

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Jeremy WebbWhat Your Logo Says About Your Startup
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These Startups Will Help You Survive Wedding Season

When you’re planning a wedding, it’s easy to feel stressed and become overwhelmed. Not only is there so much to plan, but so many places to go and so many things that have to get done. It may seem like you’ll never get it all taken care of in time.

And…YES…Weddings Are Business. Big Business.

Luckily, you’re not alone. There are a lot of others who feel the same way which is why they created companies to solve the challenges you’ll face when planning a wedding and will help make your life a little bit easier.

Startups That Will Make Your Wedding a Breeze.

Enchanted Diamonds –

Enchanted Diamonds makes ring shopping a breeze. They offer everything you need, all in one place. From education about different diamond cuts, color, clarity, etc. to the diamonds and rings themselves as well as wedding bands for the ceremony, there’s no need to go from store to store to find the perfect ring. You can get online, find the perfect one, and focus on planning the proposal.

WeddingWire –

WeddingWire is the ultimate wedding planning tool. You can use it to find venues, vendors, and get ideas, all in one place. They also provide tools that help you with hotel blocks, budgeting, and generating hashtags that will be perfect for the big day. It’s easy to use, extremely helpful, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Wedivite –

Wedivite is a digital invitation service that lets you save both money and trees. They work to make wedding planning fun, social, and stress-free. With Wedivite you don’t have to worry about invitations getting lost in the mail, and you’ll find out right away if they weren’t delivered for some reason and can correct the issue immediately. Guests can also RSVP making it easy and instant to get an attendance count.

On your Wedivite, you can include directions, ask for song suggestions, receive greetings and notes, and much more!

Azazie –

Azazie is the ultimate resource for all things apparel (for the women of the party anyway). They have everything from bridesmaid dresses (in every color) to dresses for the mother of the bride, and the most beautiful bridal gowns you could dream. They have accessories to top everything off too. If you’re not sure how something is going to look and want to try it before making a final decision, Azazie has a “Try At Home” option to help you make sure everything is perfect, and they offer swatches to make sure that your colors all match.

In addition to all that, if you’re in need of some inspiration or want to see how a certain dress looks on an actual bride, they offer inspiration from real Azazie weddings, color ideas, a style gallery and more!

Menguin –

Menguin is a suit rental service that is all online. You can request swatches to make sure that the colors are perfect, then once you’re ready, you simply build your tux style, invite your groomsmen, enter your sizes, and get it shipped to your house with plenty of time to spare. Once the wedding is over, you put your tux back in the box and attach the prepaid shipping label, drop it in the mail, and you’re done.

Instead of spending hours in stores trying to find the perfect style, fit, and price, you can do it all quickly and easily online and still look as good.

Zola –

Zola is a gift registry site that carries more than 500 brands from Cuisinart and KitchenAid to Oneida and Kate Spade. Instead of couples having to go to the store(s) where they want to register, they can spend that time curled up together on the couch and add anything and everything they could ever want and need to their registry right there online. All you have to do is register, find what you want, and let your guests choose their gifts.

Once it’s all said and done, Zola will ship your gifts to you, but if there’s something you need to exchange before it even arrives, you can do it easily online.

WedPics –

WedPics is a photography site that makes it simple and easy to get all of your guests’ photos of the event in one convenient location. Oh, and it’s free unless you want to upgrade to get premium features! You create your event and can invite an unlimited number of guests. They can share all of their photos, and you can download as many as you want or order prints to keep forever.

Bloomrent –

Bloomrent was launched as a way for brides to get their flowers and centerpieces at an affordable price. Flowers are expensive and can add up fast, but if you go through Bloomrent, you get a discount. How? Well, after you consult with a florist and get your perfect centerpieces, you can list them with Bloomrent to be rented out by others (after your event, of course). ​

When they’re rented out, you Bloomrent will give you a percentage of the price and put money back in your pocket.

AllSeated –

AllSeated is a platform that gives you a 360, 3D view of your venue so that you can do a virtual walkthrough and start planning seating arrangements to get things all worked out before it gets down to crunch time. You can sign up for free and then use their virtual reality technology to look at the venue as if you’re there.

You’ll have constant access to your venue and can design the perfect floor-plan through the platform so that you’ll be completely prepared when it’s time to start arranging.

In Conclusion.

Weddings can be stressful to plan, and surviving wedding season is tough. With the help of these startups, though, you’ll have everything under control in no time and will get to spend more, much-needed quality time with your sweetheart.

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Jeremy WebbThese Startups Will Help You Survive Wedding Season
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