Thursday, March 29, 2012

Should we even try?

It's hard to go a full day without hearing someone talk about how bad the economy is now days. A lot of the time we blame political leaders, but how much of it are we really personally responsible for? We decided to find out if Americans would rather help someone build a business and grow the economy or help someone remain reliant upon others. 

Where the Idea Began 

This idea came as I was trying to raise capital to expand my business. I started a Kickstarter project to raise the money needed. The goal was 10,000 and I only had a certain amount of time to get it. If I didn't raise the full amount in that time I would not get any of the money that was raised and it would go back to their rightful owners. In order to accomplish my goal I had to get $200 dollars a day in pledges. The first week went really well I was able to do just that. It was a lot of work to convince others to support my project despite the fact that I was providing them with a product in return for their pledge. At one point in the project we hit a wall and pledges stopped. I kicked it into over drive doing everything I could to bring more traffic to my project. I desperately needed to accomplish this goal. I wrote article for multiple large blogs about running projects as a college student, hit all the college campuses, ect. After a week of this with no success I sat brainstorming what I could do to accomplish this goal. In a moment of frustration I thought to myself "This is so dumb. I am offering a great product and I still cannot get the money I need to expand this business. While I know for a fact that there are people who sit on an overpass all day and make over $100 dollars a day." That's when the idea for this video was born. 

How to Test

Its estimated that tens of thousands of dollars are given to beggars daily by individuals. We decided to see if Americans would give the same amount of money to someone to help them start a business if they asked for it in the same manner. So we picked a street corner, made two different signs. One for the Entrepreneur and  one for a homeless student living in his car. We would both stand on the same corner for the same amount of time during the same hours of the day of the same day of the week and see who would get the most money.

The Results  

We started with the Entrepreneur first. He stood for a total of one hour on the street corner. Not a large sample time but enough to get a feel for the public's reaction. In that time he was given absolutely no money. Not even someone's spare change from their recent starbucks run. Next up was to see how much the beggar could raise in this time. It could be that he also would get no money and we would find out that Americans are just plain heartless. That however was not the case. After standing on the corner for 15 minutes as a beggar I had a man reach out and hand me a some of money. I thanked him, the light turned green and he was on his way. Within a matter of 15 minutes it was clear that Americans would much rather give their money to a beggar than to someone trying to progress and grow in their life. I didn't feel it was fair to take advantage of the public more than necessary so I ended the experiment early knowing that I already had enough information to draw my conclusion.

Are we the Ones Cutting our own Throat?       

Does this behavior have a debilitating affect on our Nation? What does this study show us about the Human mind? What motivates us and calls us to action? Each of us inherently wants to help others. It's part of our nature, we are compassionate and seek to help those around us. Do we go about it the right way though? When we see the Entrepreneur on the road we don't feel bad not giving him any money. We say to ourselves there are other ways for him to get the money. He can work for it, get a loan, find an investor, if it's a good idea someone will give him the money and help he needs. We have seen it time and time again with company after company. In our minds he is going about it the wrong way so we feel no guilt passing him by. When we see the beggar, we are moved with compassion. We don't think about the equal amount of programs established for them. The shelters, work programs, schooling stimulus's, ect. All we see is someone that is dependent upon us. Something that each of us subconsciously enjoys and seeks for. It elevates us above someone else, provides feelings of self worth, and brings joy. Do we feel power from making someone reliant upon us? Do we feel that our power is threatened by helping someone become self reliant? Have we hurt the progression of our country because subconsciously we are afraid to try and help everyone become self reliant?

Thoughts a Comments       

Let me hear your thoughts, and feelings. Don't forget to check out the project that started this whole thing right here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Making Money as a Student

Making Money as a Student

Often it can be hard to balance school, work and friends as a student. Money is tight and so is time. I am going to talk about a few creative ways I have managed to make money as a student and how to use that to take your ideas to the next level.

Shifting Your Mentality

You need to shift your mentality in order to be more successful in life. Each of us needs money to survive. From a young age whether its good or bad you were told to work hard so you can get a good job and earn a steady income. This subconsciously programs you to think that getting a job is the only way to make money. This means when you are looking at your bank account and your bills and realize you need to make more money to pay for everything, you automatically think to yourself "I need to get a job." Then you may or may not be part of the small percentage that actually goes out and tries to secure a job. This mentality completely limits you and stunts your growth as a unique individual. You need to shift your mentality to automatically think "What can I do to make money?" Then you begin the brainstorming process, thinking of multiple different ways to make money, one of which may be getting a job. That may or may not be the best idea but you will never know unless you weigh your options. 

How I Made Money as a Student

1. Pick up Trash
No you're not a prisoner, and you will make way more money than any of them. This is simple and you can make a killing in a small amount of time. Make a simple flyer, post it in your apartment complex, canvas a neighborhood, put it on Craigslist, get it in your church newsletter. Advertise that for free you will come to their house and pick up any items they want taken to the landfill. Then do just that go and pick up their junk. You will find that a lot of the stuff is still good and useable they just don't want it for whatever reason. This is how you will make your money. Save those things and each Saturday take all the stuff you collected to your local flee market and sell it. Everything you sell is pure profit for you and everyone is happy. 

3. Walk dogs
Its pretty self explanatory and not hard in any degree. Advertise it just like the trash service. Charge 15 dollars for a 30 minute walk. Do it daily! I had a friend that made over 50,000 dollars a year walking and watching dogs during the day.

2. Jailbreak I phones, install Android on HP Touchpads. Two really simple things that have a ton of information and how-to videos on the internet. Post a Craigslist add and charge $15 dollars to jailbreak an I phone, $25 dollars if you go to them. Do the same thing with the HP Touchpads. Charge to put the Android operating system on them. I have even gone as simple as installing Microsoft word on someones computer for them. Some less tech savvy individuals would rather buy the software and pay someone to install it just so they don't have to deal with it.   

Build it and Grow it

You don't want to do these things forever. Use them as a means to an end, a way to network and build your circle. Continue to think of ways that you can make money and develop your own business. The three things I have talked about above are just a few of the things I have done over the years to make money. My freshman year I interned at a screen printing shop doing graphic design. During that time I created and branded my company Konfusion Clothing and started printing and trying to sell shirts. I used a lot of other little things like I listed above to make money and continue to build Konfusion Clothing. I have leveraged a few other things to get the money necessary to expand it that I would like to talk about.

1. Business Plan Competitions
A huge advantage that you have as a student is the programs offered at your school that only you can take advantage of. Most schools will have a business plan competition. They will award money as their prizes so that you can try to start your business. Find out what your school has to offer then work to build a solid business plan. Use a teacher at the school as a mentor to give you advice and feedback on your business plan. Network with kids in your classes, you will be surprised at how much this will help your business. You will find tons of free information and even free labor sometimes.
2. Platform funding
Something that has become very successful in the last few years are platform funding websites like Kickstarter and Indigogo.  Through these sights you create a project that usually consists of a video and a write up explaining what you are trying to do and what you want to accomplish. You set a goal as to how much money you need to raise to start or expand your business. You also set up pledge tiers and the rewards received for each pledge amount. For example someone trying to start a pottery business may offer a small bowl for a $20 dollar pledge, a vase for $50 and so on.  After considering my options for expanding Konfusion Clothing I decided this was the best option for me. You can check out my project here.    

3. Investors
Investors are a great way to raise the capitol you need for your next business ventures. They are not easy to find or secure but not impossible. They will want a percentage of ownership in the company in exchange for the money they are investing. They can be either an active partner or a silent partner. Those are all things that can be negotiated and discussed. If you network yourself correctly doing the small jobs I talked about earlier you will be a lot more likely to know potential investors. I have had multiple people approach me and offer to invest large amounts of money in Konfusion Clothing. After weighing my options and looking over the deals I decided that I wanted to try platform funding before bringing in investors. The only reason that even happened however was because I had built a good network of friends doing these small jobs to make money as a student. 

Leave a comment with ideas you have to make money as a student. 

See a sample Kickstarter project by visiting Konfusion Clothings at