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Sunday Serial: Seven Links for the Entrepreneur in Training

orange garfield cat stretching out on a newspaper

It’s Sunday and you know what that means — it’s time for your weekly reading list curated by me! Woo!

The Sunday Serial is a list of the best articles I encountered and read during the previous week. Sometimes they have a theme, but most times they do not. This week, it’s all about startups, becoming an entrepreneur and one thing that we all need, a little humor. Enjoy! And since the world revolves around reciprocation, leave me a link to the best thing you read last week down in the comments. Seriously :)

Links for the Entrepreneur in Training

Considering a Start-Up? Think Again. by Oliver Segovia on Harvard Business Review

Read this because: You’re attracted to startups, addicted to the culture of innovation, and addicted to doing something that no one has done before. And while you help build out other people’s ideas, you’re waiting on the sidelines, anxiously, for your own idea. Or you’re startup-curious and can’t wait to trade that 9-to-5 lifestyle of clocking in and checking out for something that will be much more exciting, you’re sure of it.

But are you? This is a great article with questions to ask yourself when it comes to figuring out if the startup lifestyle is really for you.

3 Reasons Why Every Smart Startup Is A Digital Media Company by Brian Clark on Forbes

Read this because: The word “startup” gets thrown around so much these days and I’m kind of confused – are all “new” businesses considered startups or do they have to have some “tech” element? And if they have to have a “tech” element, does an ecommerce site count?

Brian Clark, who’s most famously known for his Copyblogger empire, does not answer that question, but he does explore an opportunity that all entrepreneurs can take advantage of no matter what their product is, and that’s becoming a content producer.

Content drives everything. It’s marketing, a channel to your audience (customers), and gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors if you do it right and keep your audience first. This article is pure gold and worth reading.

How to Become an Overnight Success by Lisbeth Darsh on CrossFit Lisbeth

Read this because: Lessons that we learn in sports can be applied to business, and this is a good one.

Disillusionment of an Entrepreneur by Prerna Gupta TechCrunch

Read this because: First-time entrepreneurs believe that as they start to build their first startup and work towards making it real, someday they will sell it for millions of dollars and then get to retire. But as Prerna Gupta describes, as soon as she reached what she thought was her end goal, she came up with another one and kept working.

I don’t have my own business yet, but I’ve helped build three businesses and I’m on my fourth. Working every day with entrepreneurs is exciting, and knowing that what I’m working on will directly impact the business makes the long hours and the ambitious goals worth it. But at the end of the day, there’s always more to do. Good to know that I’m not alone in feeling like I’m never satisfied or “done” when it comes to work.

Three Years of Kickstarter Projects as an infographic on The New York Times

Read this because: Crowdsourcing has become a viable way for entrepreneurs to fund their projects thanks to websites like Kickstarter. It’s been three years and almost 50,000 projects since the site launched on April 28, 2009 and The New York Times put together this great visual about which categories of projects were funded and how much has been raised. It’s a fascinating diagram to study if you’re considering running a campaign on Kickstarter.

Bonus reading material:

Links for the Entrepreneur Who Needs a Break

I apologize, but the following two links have everything to do with being human and nothing to do with entrepreneurship.

#WelcomeToSeattle

Read this because: I love Tumblr, and every week I find a new meme that rocks my world. This week I discovered #WelcomeToSeattle. It reminds me of #WhatShouldWeCallMe, but appeals to my Seattleite sensibilities.

24 Life Lessons, Courtesy Of My Cat by Georgia Perry on Thought Catalog

Read this because: You have a cat or know someone who does. And yes, this was definitely written by a cat owner.

What’s the best thing you read this week? Leave me a link in the comments.

Photo Credit: cobra libre

Sunday Serial: Five-Dollar Words, Quitting, Facebook Passwords & Texts from Hillary

Sunday morning paper by f_where

Sunday Serial is a semi-regularly weekly installment of the best articles written and read around the Internet during the past week or so. I try to introduce each article so you know what you’re getting in to before you click, though sometimes my synthesis goes a little bit deep. You can read previous Sunday Serials here.

20 phrases you can replace with one word by Laura Hale Brockway on PR Daily

Read this because: I’m a fan of brevity, and you should be too. As George Orwell said, never use a ten-dollar word when a five-dollar one will do. Whether that’s in every day speech or in your writing.

What I Learned From Quitting My Job…Twice. by Amber Nashlund on Brass Tack Thinking

Read this because: You’re on a path few have traveled. You are ready to shake things up, you’re ready to say “I quit,” but uncertainty is holding you back. Here are some great lessons to move you away from “un” and closer to “certain.”

I hereby (fictionally) resign by Reginald Braithwaite on raganwald’s posterous

Read this because: Last month, recruiters and hiring managers starting asking candidates for their passwords to their personal Facebook accounts. Why? So they could do a more thorough background check on the candidate’s personal life.

Then Facebook came out and publicly stated that asking candidates to give out their passwords is an invasion of the candidate’s privacy and that of their friends. And last week, the state of Maryland became the first state to ban employers from asking for Facebook passwords.

Don’t HR managers know to keep their hands off of our personal Facebook pages?

If you’re reading this, mouth agape, wondering “WTF?” read the above post. While a fictionalized account, it’s a good story about “what if.”

Bonus: Here’s what you should do (in the real world) if your employer or hiring manager does ask for your password.

Publishing is no longer a job or an industry — it’s a button by Mathew Ingram on GigaOm

Read this because: It’s no secret that I come from the book publishing world, so the advent of blogs, eBooks, online publishing, etc., anyone can be “published” and the assets that the old book publishing world used to bring to the table are no longer valuable. Digitization has killed this industry and turned it into a button. And I’m left wondering, would it have been better to be outsourced to China or replaced by a machine than a button?

But there’s hope – yes, the industry is dead. The mystery, allure, and “secret sauce” of what makes a best seller still exist, but the tools for production and sales channels are accessible to all. It’s not so much that publishing needs to disappear, but pivot. Instead of being the “process of distribution,” become the services that authors need – editorial, marketing, access to readers, and design.Ryan Gosling texts Hillary Clinton

Texts from Hillary on Tumblr

Read this because: It’s not every week that a meme is started and the subject of the meme, memes herself. As the final post says, “It turns out that memes really do come true,”

What did you read this week?

Photo Credit: f_where

How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog by Using Ryan Gosling

Hey Girl meme, CrossFit edition

There was some pretty stellar content floating around the Internet last week, but perhaps the best thing I stumbled upon was CrossFit Ryan Gosling (full set on Facebook and on the co-creator’s blog).

Ryan Gosling, the Meme

“Hey Girl,” the meme, was originally started by Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling on tumblr, and made famous by Danielle Henderson’s Feminist Ryan Gosling. The blog was started as a joke to keep track of the theorists she is studying as she works towards her graduate degree in gender studies. The content has no affiliation to Ryan Gosling, the actor, and as with most things we encounter online, it doesn’t really matter because Henderson’s content is so damn entertaining.

Like all good memes, spin offs happen, and last week I ran into the most amazing rendition of the “Hey Girl” meme and that is CrossFit Ryan Gosling.

CrossFit Ryan Gosling was created (I believe) by Gabe Billings and Robin Runyan out of Eugene, Oregon and shared like mild wildfire on Facebook last week. You can view all 21 photos (so far) here.

Why CrossFit Ryan Gosling works: A Lesson in Marketing

The reason why Feminist Ryan Gosling worked so well and is (arguably) more famous than the original is because of a few reasons:

1) Know Your Audience

People who are “subject matter experts” of the target audience created Feminist Ryan Gosling and CrossFit Ryan Gosling who these pictures were created for. The person behind Feminist Ryan Gosling is studying gender issues; the people behind CrossFit Ryan Gosling is a CrossFitter. They wrote captions for people who are like them and about things that matter.

The fact that Ryan Gosling is featured is for entertainment only.

Takeaway: Know your audience intimately.

2) Find Your Niche and Stick to it

According to Know Your Meme, “Hey Girl” was created in December 2008 but made famous by Feminist Ryan Gosling when it came to the scene in the fall of 2011 and was featured on Ms. Magazine blog, The Huffington Post, GQ, Newsweek, Bust, and about a dozen more.

Why did Feminist Ryan Gosling do better than the original “Hey Girl” in such a short amount of time? Because Feminist Ryan Gosling had a very specific purpose: feminist flash cards.

Granted, I haven’t spent much time on the original site, but the name is telling – “Fuck Yeah!” doesn’t really tell me what your site and your content is about, whereas Feminist and CrossFit does.

Takeaway: When given the opportunity, specialize and become an expert over being a generalist.

3) Do it Because You Want to

The best part about Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling, Feminist Ryan Gosling, and CrossFit Ryan Gosling are that they are all fans – of the topics they parody at least. If you want to create some great content that will have some “stickiness” to it, you have to enjoy what you’re doing and come from a place of curiosity or heart.

CrossFit Ryan Gosling was created because someone at the creator’s gym came up with the idea and the set is what they all came up with. The creators are CrossFitter themselves. They’re not getting paid and they probably did it because they wanted to. And that’s what it’s all about.

Takeaway: You will create something noteworthy if you love the topic you’re creating first.

In Other Sunday Serial News

When you’re done lusting over Ryan Gosling, here are a few other articles for you to read:

What did you read this week?

Post updated on April 22, 2012 to reflect multiple authors and the official web “home” of CrossFit Ryan Gosling to be here. Thanks, Gabe and Robin for stopping by!