Entrepreneurs are on the rise! In the past few years, new independent businesses have grown tremendously, and it’s hard to point to just one reason for this boom in the dogged DIY spirit. Instead, it’s a perfect storm of many factors, according to an article in Fortune from 2014. Thanks to access to technology and research tools, more available funding in the form of venture capital and crowd capital, more business incubators and accelerators, the desire for more flexible work hours, and Millennials feeling like they don’t want to conform to corporate culture, entrepreneurship is booming. Throw in well publicized and polished success stories of entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk, and suddenly, everyone wants to strike out on their own and make a splash.
In response to this wave of new entrepreneurs, many apps, business tools, and especially websites all aimed at small and independent business owners have sprung up. They provide everything from financial and fundraising help to lifestyle advice to inspirational wisdom. With so many of these sites in existence, it’s not always easy to know which ones are the most helpful and which ones can be passed over. If you’re of an entrepreneurial mindset and want to know which of these sites to bookmark, read on. Here are ten very helpful sites for entrepreneurs.
The website for the monthly publication is a tremendous resource for all things entrepreneurial. Even if you get the print magazine, you’ll want to check the website a few times a week; it publishes blog articles on a daily basis on all sorts of topics that will be of interest to anyone running an independent company. Recent topics include keeping your data secure, branding and design, best practices for content marketing, and more. The format makes it easy for you to scan the headlines and read only the articles that are of interest.
Despite the similar name, ForEntrepreneurs is not related to Entrepreneur Magazine. Instead, it’s the personal blog of David Skok, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with lots of experience and a ton of great advice to share. On the site, you’ll find a treasure trove of useful articles on topics like software, pitching, hiring and recruiting, and many others. There are full sections for startup help, sales and marketing, and business models, so you’ll be able to find the information you need quickly and easily.
HubSpot is a company that makes and sells inbound marketing tools to companies of all sizes, but you don’t have to purchase any of their products to have access to their outstanding marketing blog and sales blog. These offer some of the best advice on everything from content marketing and search engine optimization to referral strategies and sales techniques. They’re updated regularly, and they often contain valuable data that will help you boost your own company. And of course, if you really like the advice and see a use for HubSpot’s marketing software products, they’d be happy to work with you directly.
Much like HubSpot, Copyblogger is a company that sells content marketing services and has a fabulous blog. Unlike HubSpot, however, many of the services that Copyblogger offers is free to entrepreneurs of all stripes. If you set up a free account, you’ll have access to all sorts of training, white papers, and more to help you improve your company’s marketing efforts. As for the products that they sell, they frequently have certified courses in various marketing topics, as well as a web based marketing platform called Rainmaker, the latter of which you can even test out for free for a full two weeks.
Even though business strategist Tara Gentile is female, she’s not an idea specialist who caters strictly to female entrepreneurs. In fact, independent business owners of all genders, colors, and creeds will find her advice extremely valuable. Her site features a regularly updated blog, a free course on pricing your products, and tons of amazing insight for entrepreneurs. Much of this is in the form of video clips, so you can see her in action, though if you’d like Ms. Gentile to address a small group, information on how to arrange for that is on the website as well.
Crowdfunding is raising money from lots of everyday people who want to invest in your business idea rather than venture capitalists or individual investors with a lot to throw your way. In the past five or so years, it’s how many companies have gone from fledgling startup to market powerhouse; these include businesses like Pebble, Bragi, Oculus, and many others. There are a few different crowdfunding sites to get your project off the ground, but the most well known and well used is Kickstarter, with over $2.8 billion USD pledged from more than 12 million people across more than 116,000 projects. If you’ve got a product that’s in its final stages of development, and you’re looking for additional funding to finalize your efforts, Kickstarter is where you should be looking.
“Ideas worth spreading” is TED’s motto, and if you’d rather watch someone give you good advice than read it, TED is for you. An acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, TED was initially an annual conference on the west coast, but in the past decade has expanded to lots of smaller community conferences under the TEDx name. On the TED site, you’ll find video clips of thousands of TED talks, almost all of them under 20 minutes. Whether you just want to be inspired by someone else’s great efforts or need some specific insight for improving your business, you’ll find at least a few TED talks to suit your needs. Plus, if you download the app, you can watch TED talks on the go.
Entrepreneurs are known for being multi talented, but the fact of the matter is that they can’t do everything. That’s where a site like Fiverr comes in handy. Whether you need help with writing, graphic design, programming, or whatever, Fiverr can connect you with a talented freelancer to get the job done. Plus, Fiverr has a blog full of great tips and ideas that’s well worth checking out.
Like Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine has its pulse on new ideas in business. The print edition is great if you prefer holding something in your hands, but checking the website on a regular basis is highly worthwhile for the great blog posts. For entrepreneurs who are just getting started, the Startup section on Inc. is one of the best resources you’ll have.
Just like crowdfunding is how a lot of projects get off the ground, crowdsourced answers is how a lot of questions get answered. Unlike other forums and message boards on the internet, Quora is actually used by lots of entrepreneurs to garner opinions and dispense advice. If you’ve got a business question, Quora is the respectable place to post it, and you can be sure that the answers you receive will take your query honestly and seriously.