All posts by Sean Feeney

Guide to Become an Entrepreneur – Get Feedback and Learn From Others

Up until recently I have always toyed with the idea of creating a company and becoming an entrepreneur,  but wasn’t sure where to start.  I wasn’t certain how to build a business or where to get feedback and find answers to my questions.  After all, most people I know are not trying to start anything new, but instead they’re content with working their regular 9-5.  I put this list together with what helped me, to help others get started and more importantly, gain feedback and learn from other experiences.

Social Networking

twitter I am sure you have heard this a thousand times, social networking is a great way to interact and find people to help you on your journey.  If you are on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ and are finding yourself not understanding why you are not reaping the benefits, look at how you are interacting.  Are you just posting questions that only your followers can see?  Are you adding hashtags hoping someone sees you in a search for #entrepreneur? If so, you might be doing it wrong.

Try this instead.  Get out there and ask someone a direct question.  Social networks are not only meant to be a place for you to say what comes to your mind and hope someone listens.  Social networks are meant to be, well, social.  When trying to start Pixel Precise LLC I was crippled by the idea of launching and worrying about copyrights, legal, how to claim a company with the state, etc.  So I took a leap of faith and asked Jay Adelson, Ex-CEO of Digg.com and host of podcast AskJay I was watching at the time,  a direct question on twitter.

 

Podcasts

TED  Ideas worth spreadingPodcasts are great, you can learn a lot from watching 1 a day or even just a few  a week.  They are designed to fit busy life styles (< 30min per episode), you can load them onto your phone or tablet, and they are often to-the-point without all of the fluff that comes from TV programming. Even if a show isn’t dedicated to business you may find some value in them.  The podcast FilmRiot, is like this; I am not a film guy, but I learn a lot about what sort of hard-work goes into podcast production by watching this show.  It has the added benefit of being very entertaining as well. Who knows, maybe one of these days I will need to create a video for my company and will be able to utilize these great tips!

If you are looking for something that is a little more to the topic of business, I would try TED or AskJay.  Ask Jay is no longer in production, but there are still ~70 episodes of tips and answers to viewer questions.  I know I have asked myself a few of those questions before.  Next is TED Talks. Ted is a wonderful podcast that is still in production where people from all over the globe give amazing talks about their experiences and provide you with groundbreaking research at no cost to you!

Entrepreneur Communities

EntrepreneurMy first choice is Reddit, these people are brutally honest and you can remain anonymous to protect your ideas. Okay, I know what you are thinking, “Reddit? Really? Isn’t that the website with cats and memes?” Well yes, but it is also the home to reddit.com/r/entrepreneur, a sub-community solely focused on helping other entrepreneurs be successful.  Think of it as a forum to ask questions, get feedback and learn from other experiences.  If Reddit not your thing, give Google+ Communities a try.  It has a cleaner interface without all of the (cat) distractions. Also, Google+ Communities have multiple different pages around similar categories. So if one doesn’t work for you, there is an option to either create your own or try another one that suites your needs.

Design Communities

forrstThe times are here, you can’t honestly run a business without some sort of online presence.  That means you will have to buckle down and design logos, websites, etc. Two popular and prominent communities are Dribbble and Forrst.  Personally, I use Forrst. Here you can post designs and get honest feedback on how you can do better. Starting out, you don’t need many friends because once you post, many people will see your content and provide you with feedback and tips.  As for Dribbble the concept is similar, admittedly I haven’t had as much luck with feedback when starting out.  Maybe you will, you can always use it as a way to gain inspiration and find out what others are coming up with for creations.

Business Websites

Fast CompanyThere are many business websites out there, but one I really like is Fast Company.  Fast company always has compelling articles, sections on leadership and design, and there is the always interesting 30 Second MBA.  The 30 second MBA is a series of videos from different CEOs who talk about a business related topic 30 seconds! If you are looking to supplement yourself with more content just like Fast Company, try Inc or VentureBeat. Both are similar in content and appeal.
 

Local State Website

Step by Step Guide to Starting a Business in MassachusettsI won’t get into too much detail here because depending on where you are from, the information may be different. That said, I live in Massachusetts and I found this helpful how to start a business guide on my states website.  I am sure if you look around, you will find something similar for your location.  I was able to use this guide to find out how to get an LLC for my company Pixel Precise.

Productivity Tip: Turning Text Articles Into a Podcast

If you are like me, you are probably always multitasking and at times it is difficult keeping up with the news of the day while working or running errands. So, what would be better than to select a few news articles and listen to them whilst remaining productive? Here’s how:

For this article I am going to focus on iOS (because that is what I have), there is probably an android way of doing this too. If you find one, send me some screenshots!

First, you need to set up the speak selection setting from, Settings > General > Accessibility; then, turn on speak selection and change the speech rate to something that is easy for you to follow.

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Now that you have your phone setup, I recommend installing an app which allows you to easily read posts later. Personally, I like Pocket (formerly Read It Later). This is a great app because you can install a browser extension and then install the mobile app for a simple and seamless sharing solution.

Once you have installed the app and bookmarked your content, fire up the app and select all of the text. Since turning on the speak selection feature you can now see a speak option next to copy. Click speak and enjoy!

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As always, let me know what you think in the comments below!

New Company Coming Soon! – Pixel Precise LLC

PP-logo-bg-shadow

For a while now I have been building a portfolio of web sites and fixing computers on the side. I have finally taken the leap of claiming this as a company. This is such a big step in the right direction and my mind is going wild with ideas.

This is still the very early stages and I don’t have an official website or anything of that sort right now but, stay tuned for many exciting things to come!

How Dating Posts Can Work Against You ( SEO )

Too long didn’t read version >>

Backstory

For those of you who may not know, I run a website called AfternoonCrash.com. Recently, I had a story go viral after my post on Heath Ledger’s Inspiration for the Joker was high on the Google ranking for anything related to Heath Ledger and the Joker. My post had been around for months and saw a little traffic here and there. Once the internet took hold if it suddenly it popped up everywhere including some pretty mainstream sites as “new.” Hardly anyone gave credit where credit was due but, I am not here to complain about that.

What I found very interesting was, my post was suddenly marked old by Google and fell very far down on the ranking. The people who knew where the post came from, had to search for Heath Ledger, the Joker and afternooncrash in order to find they post they were familiar with (I watched my stats like a hawk). This concerned me because now all of a sudden, my traffic started going down and those other sites were apparently more relevant to Google.

Technical Solution

Was the date of the post really the issue, or was it something else like the popularity of the website? I had a hunch and did some research, that is when I came across an article by ProBlogger.net where the author stated:

“Dates on Recent Posts But Not on Older Ones – I saw one blogger do this last year (I’m afraid I don’t remember who it was). They had hacked WordPress so that dates appeared on recent posts (within the last 3 months) but anything older than that did not have time stamps either on the post or comments. This meant that the blogger benefited from new posts looking new and took the potential distraction of old posts away from readers. I don’t know exactly how the blogger did it but presume they set up a rule that looked at the date of authorship and then determined whether the date would be displayed or not.”

This idea sounded exactly like what I was looking for. With a quick Google search I found a post on http://goodkarmahost.com which showed exactly how to do this in WordPress.

It is as simple as replacing the following line in my single.php file:

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<?php the_time('F jS, Y') ?>

With:

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<?php
$today = date('r');
$articledate = get_the_time('r');
$difference = round((strtotime($today) - strtotime($articledate))/(24*60*60),0);
if ($difference >= 30)
{
?>
<!-- Aged Gem -->
<?php
} else {?>
<!-- Fresh Gem --><strong><?php the_time('F jS, Y') ?></strong>
<?php
}?>

Conclusion

Finally, what does this all mean? Once I implemented this code to remove dates from older posts, suddenly my post found its way to the top of the Google search and, traffic is starting to flow again.

Now, if you are posting time sensitive material then you probably won’t want to do this. However, if you material isn’t time sensitive this is an excellent solution to keep your recent content relevant by containing dates and showing your readers that you are regularly updating the site, as well as, keeping your older content relevant and not automatically buried by Google because you were one of the first people to discover the content.

For more information on dating content I suggest you check out the article on ProBlogger.net.

As always, I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments! Send me all of your success or failure stories.

How Are You Getting Involved?

I am a firm believer that one of the most important things you can do is to build a network. Your work will only do as well as your network unless you get lucky and have a social power user resend you work to a massive audience.

I would love you hear what you are doing to get involved, i.e. what sites do you visit, conferences / meet-ups do you attend, social networks are you involved.

Some suggested topics I would love to hear about, but not limited too, are Boston, web design, entrepreneurship, small business / enterprise services, or just to get people with a passion for what they do to hang out.

Comment below and let’s share ideas!