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6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It’s probably not news to anyone reading this, but it bears repeating: CTV (internet-connected TV) apps are poised for a boom, similar to the take-off in mobile apps after the release of the first iPhone. And where there are apps, there are ads  you’ve already seen how ad-based programmatic has been incorporated into nearly every free smartphone app out there, and CTV is seeing similar growth. According to Pixalate, over-the-top (OTT) and CTV apps that support programmatic advertising have grown by 232%  impressive numbers for a sector whose user base and viewer counts are still in their infancy.

Entertainment-video content leads installs 

Let’s start with the obvious: Looking at Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Tizen, entertainment-video content is the absolute leader in app installs. (Entertainment video content here refers to channels made by the streaming platforms, such as Netflix, YouTube, etc.). According to 42matters, Amazon Fire TV has a 20.04% share, Apple TV has 19.86%, and Tizen has 40.7%.

However, Roku, one of the most popular OTT device makers, is a leader in faith-based channels  18.91%, representing nearly 5,000 apps, the biggest vertical, followed by entertainment. The surprising popularity of faith-based channels can be explained by one core factor   local churches and faith organizations are finding streaming to be an effective way to get their message across to their members. At VlogBox, we often receive the requests for development of this specific sector; however, without considering monetization opportunities, which is quite obvious.

At the same time, if you’re looking for the fastest growing vertical on Roku, that’d be Kids & Family, which saw the number of apps rise by 4.5% from 2020 to 2021, nearly double the growth in screensavers, at 2.6%. A few things have caused this: the myriad of talented kids’ content creators looking to both establish themselves and gain experience with platforms other than YouTube, and the ease of creating a channel. While that category has the lowest app share currently, at 8.2% of total apps, its current growth trends will have it moving up soon enough. 

Related: The Crazy Numbers Behind Netflix’s 20 Years of Success

On Apple and Amazon Fire TV, the numbers are similar: Games and lifestyle apps make up the next largest share vertical following entertainment. Cooking shows, exercise programs and home decor are as popular as the rapidly growing field of CTV games  across Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, these two categories range between 14% to 16% of all apps. According to Samsung, 2.8 million out of the 34 million active Samsung TVs users have their games consoles connected. Thus, Xbox or PlayStation will see the sense in utilizing native ads in Samsung’s UI and AVOD on Samsung TV Plus.

The pandemic’s impact on CTV-app growth

One of the core reasons that may cause the growth of CTV apps as a whole is  you guessed it — the pandemic. Nielsen pointed out last year that viewing time on CTV devices had reached over a cumulative 3.5 billion hours a week. And those numbers are continuing to rise, even as pandemic restrictions wear off, vaccinations kick in and the world slowly reopens to a post-Covid future  with many offices adopting a “half-week” schedule, time spent at home will still stay above pre-pandemic levels.

But viewing time isn’t the only impact. The economic backlash from the Covid-19 pandemic has been harsh for many people, with the International Labour Organization noting that a staggering 114 million jobs have been lost worldwide. This has created a higher demand for different types of CTV content both for viewers staying at home, experienced publishers and newcomers, as well as advertisers targeting specific audiences. With the variety of monetization models available on CTV platforms, including SVOD, AVOD, product placement or merch, it’s getting easier to start generating additional income  or even to take on video creation and streaming full-time while advertisers are seeing a growing number of inventory.

Related: The Future of Work Is Hybrid

Technological development shouldn’t be discounted either; as those local religious organizations on Roku have learned, making a CTV channel and launching it on a platform has become a breeze. In large part, that is due to the plethora of CTV-app-development companies, and to the refinement of the already existing OTT-channel development and analytics dashboards. 

The future of CTV-channel development looks bright 

With these factors in mind, it’s easy to see why CTV-channel development and advertising are seeing speedy growth. Add to that the constantly growing market share of CTV in households as a whole (80% of U.S. households have at least one OTT device), and suddenly CTV-app development is looking just as promising as mobile-app development, and shares much of the same processes. 

As for the future, games, kids’ content and lifestyle are all exciting and rapidly expanding verticals across CTV platforms. Best of all, these verticals are poised for what I like to call an “Angry Birds” moment, with current growth trends making that moment more likely sooner, rather than later.

Related: China Is the Next Boom Market for Connected TV Advertising and Over the Top Marketing

That means that enterprising game studios, video-content creators and app developers can take a chance on pulling off the same success as earlier trailblazers did on mobile and YouTube. And of course, for advertisers, that means there might be quite a number of unicorns to choose from in terms of sponsorships, partnerships, ad buy negotiations  even product placements, all of which are cheaper compared to linear TV and even large YouTube channels. Considering that CTV ad spend is forecasted to more than triple by 2024, it’s just the right time for marketers to really consider the verticals that may be defining their strategies going forward.

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6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


I’m often asked by other entrepreneurs how I grew my public-relations business and how I gain new clients. There are several examples I can share, but I usually start with one answer they don’t expect. I talk about the importance of attending networking events. 

What’s great about networking events is that they work for you no matter if you’re a new business or one with a long history. You can be a novice or an expert, yet you potentially have the same opportunity to meet meaningful contacts as every other person in the room.

Before I walk into a networking event, I pump myself up with a simple thought: There’s one person in the room that I’m supposed to meet. That person may someday in the future refer me to someone who becomes a client, or he or she may directly become a client themselves. The hard part is figuring out who in the room it is that I need to meet. Further complicating the task is that I’m only going to stay an hour or two at the event. Meaning, I need to be efficient to meet as many people as I can before I leave.

To meet your goals and get the most out of networking events, here are eight networking tips that have worked for me and can work for you, regardless of if you’re new to networking or consider yourself an expert. 

Related: 5 Tips for Stress-Free Networking

1. Network like you’re snorkeling

If you’re snorkeling and you swim out in a group, you might scare away the fish instead of attracting them. In comparison, if you go off on your own and remain still, the fish will come to you. If you’re uncomfortable walking up to strangers, plant yourself at a waist-high bar table in a traffic-heavy area of the room and people will start introducing themselves to you.

2. Look for people standing by themselves at a table or along the wall

Everyone attending a networking event is there to meet people. If you don’t know where to go or whom to talk to, look for people waiting for someone to walk up to them. They’ll appreciate that you took the first step.

3. Follow the KISS Method

Not that kind of kiss! KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. You’re not trying to get a date or impress anyone, so don’t worry about having a smart pick-up line. “Hi my name is…” is a fine opener. Have a simple back-up question like “Have you been to this event before?” or “Are you excited for the big sports game this week?” to try and get a conversation started. Don’t talk about work; that’ll come soon enough on its own. Just try to make a personal connection when first meeting someone.

Related: 5 Tips for Authentic Networking in a Co-Working Space

4. The shorter the better

The point of a networking event is to talk to as many people as possible, so don’t stay with anyone too long. Five to ten minutes should be the max. If you’re only talking to one person, invite him or her to join you in walking over to a bigger group. If you’re already in a bigger group, it’s often easy to pivot your body to welcome others in or get someone else in your line of sight and quickly take a few steps towards him or her to move into the next closest group. No one will be offended that you didn’t say goodbye, especially if he or she is in the middle of a conversation with someone else when you slip away.

5. Focus on the connection, not the sale

No one is going to buy what you’re selling during the networking event. Your goal is to make a connection so that you can follow up with the person after the event. Let him or her talk as much as possible. The more you learn about the person, the stronger the connection and, likely, the more he or she will like you.

6. Collect business cards selectively

It’s not a contest to get or give out the most business cards. You’re only looking for cards from people you think you might want to talk to again. The reason may simply be that you liked talking to them, or you hope to do business with them, or that they might be a good referral source for you. After you take someone’s card, write down something from the conversation on the back so that you can email the person about it later. It can be a favorite sports team or something the person said about his or her kids. 

7. Give out business cards thoughtfully

Every card you give out might get you added to another email list or result in you getting calls where they try to sell you on their product. If you someone asks for your card, you likely need to give it out of courtesy. That doesn’t mean you need to offer your card to someone if you have no interest in talking to the person again.

Related: How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth

8. Shake hands with the important people

 You don’t need to know the person or even have a conversation with them. If you see an elected official, the event host or an important business leader in the room, be sure to shake his or her hand. Just walk up when he or she is talking to someone else, put your hand out and say it’s nice seeing him or her at the event and walk away. He or she will assume you’ve met in the past and that he or she simply forgot your name. After a few events of doing this, that person will start to recognize your face, and before you know it, will be walking up to you and striking up a conversation.

Networking is a long game, not about closing a sale immediately. The best networkers are consistent and repetitive, but not pushy. Going to the same event month after month, saying hello to the same people and ultimately getting remembered should be the goal when attending networking events. It’s only once you’re truly remembered that the people you build relationships with are more likely to really pay attention to what it is you do, and only then will they work to figure out a way to work with you because they finally feel like they know (and trust) you.

And most importantly, smile! You’re supposed to be having fun at these events! So get out there, relax, shake hands and enjoy the experience.

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6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In-person networking events are returning as more and more people feel comfortable gathering indoors with larger groups of strangers. To some, networking is easy and fun, but to others, it’s an uncomfortable chore. As someone who has utilized networking to grow my successful public-relations consultancy, here’s a primer on networking and how you can get the most out of these events.

When identifying the kinds of networking events you’ll want to attend, the first place to start is understanding what type of people you’re trying meet. If you’re a residential-insurance professional, you may find potential leads at any event, but if you’re only focused on medical professionals, you’ll want to be more selective about which events you attend. 

Once you know the kind of people you are trying to connect with, you’ll need to identify the kinds of events that will provide opportunities to meet these people. One way to do this is by looking at your local industry associations. Sometimes, members get to attend these kinds of events for free or at a discount, but many groups have non-member attendee rates or even offer free attendance your first time so that you can try it out and see how you like it. Another great source to find events are local Chamber of Commerce websites. Some cities also have citywide networking-event calendar websites, which provide details on several events occurring each month. 

Next, you need to decide which type of event you’ll enjoy the most. Do you like a formal agenda, or do you prefer to wander around a room on your own starting conversations with strangers?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to select the best kind of networking events that will meet your personal preferences and business goals. Here are some of the most common types of networking events.

Related: 5 Tips for Stress-Free Networking

Structured networking

If you like a formal structure, a great organization to consider is LeTip International, the world’s largest privately owned business-leads organization. They have more than 250 chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada and are credited with hundreds of thousands of business referrals per year. Basically, it’s a weekly meeting where a chapter of 20 to 40 people follow a structured meeting format, which is proven to generate business leads as the other members of the group essentially become your sales team or referral source.

Lunch events

Luncheons also tend to force more structure as well. While you’ll still meet new people, the networking portion tends to be more compressed, giving you less time to talk to people before you sit at a table and eat while often listening to a presentation. If you’re sitting with the right people on either side, you may be able to make a great and relevant contact to grow your network. If you get stuck sitting next to people who don’t interest you, it’s essentially lost time. Once the presentation or lunch is over, people tend to leave very quickly, with little networking, as people need to return to work, so it’s important you arrive early to meet new people at these types of events.

Breakfast events

If you prefer more schmooze time, breakfast events or happy hours might be best suited to your style. Breakfast events tend to have people wandering the room carrying small plates of breakfast foods or sitting briefly to eat and then getting back to the networking. Some morning events also have some formal component to the event as well. For example, sometimes everyone goes around the room giving their 30-second elevator pitch before resuming the mix and mingle part of the event. While every group is different, there seems to be more salespeople attending breakfast events, rather than the actual business owners.

Related: How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth

Happy hours

Happy Hours tend to have almost no structure. While some may have the host speak to the group for a few minutes welcoming everyone or thanking sponsors, most often it’s a full event of mixing and mingling. A lot of people will carry an adult beverage around with them, and sometimes a small plate of appetizers as well. The people who attend these types of events will depend on the host organization putting on the event, but attendees will tend to be more decision makers or small-business owners.

Ticketed events

Another networking opportunity would be larger events like an awards event or training presentation where your company buys a full table. In this scenario, the networking usually occurs before the presentation or people are seated. Before you sit down with people you already know, work the room. Look at nametags (if people are wearing them) and walk up to people that you want to meet.

Which events are a match for you?

In the end, it’s pretty simple. Pick the type of networking event that you will enjoy and return to events where you liked the people as people  not as sales leads. I built up my own successful business this way, attending on average two happy-hour events a week for several years. The repetition and being viewed as a trusted regular led to several referrals that grew my firm into what it’s become today.

My only warning is that networking is about the long game, not the short sale. The strategy took at least a year, during which I went to the same events month after month, talking to the same people again and again, before I started getting some client referrals. Networking successfully is a strategy that takes an investment of time, but has the opportunity to pay off in dividends when done right.

Related: 11 Networking Tips When You’re Crunched for Time

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Using your company’s home page to collect data from current customers helps increase the percentage of prospective visitors who end up purchasing.


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Most companies have a website because their ultimate goal is for customers to make a purchase. Yet a teeny fraction of the people who visit your site, (as little as 3%, from what we’ve seen through our business) will open their wallets. Rather than pouring all your resources into making everything perfect for that 3%, the smarter approach is to convert the other 97% into regular buyers. 
Related: 5 New Consumer Buying Habits That Can Transform Your Business

Discovering customer intent

Business leaders often turn to task completion numbers as a key performance indicator to get a sense of what’s happening with customers. But metrics can sometimes make you feel like you know what’s going on even when you don’t. 

Let’s say someone wants to see what it would cost them to have an item shipped to their location. They might put an item in their cart to see the final price. You then assume the visitor to your site is going to buy the product, but all they wanted was a sense of the total cost.

Based on our company’s experience there’s about a 70% chance that, if somebody can finish the primary task they came to your site to do, they’ll move on down the funnel to the next step. If you can figure out what they actually came to do, and help them do it in an omnichannel way, then the odds of them buying are far higher.

Related: If You’re Only Listening to Your Buyers, You’re Doing It Wrong

Figure out what visitors came for and how to help

Discovering intent requires you to get data directly from your visitors. There are different ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to have them do an exit survey using a customer experience tool. Throw these out for a random sample, yet not to everybody/every time they visit the site. Ask who the visitor is, what their intent was and whether they were able to accomplish their task. The responses should give you a good indication of what patrons are looking to achieve.

Once you have this information, it’s time to triage and prioritize. Drill down deeper into the quantitative data to figure out what the specific pain points are and make strategic decisions about how to help. Your info isn’t going to be the same as another company’s data and there’s no cookie-cutter way to react to this information. Helping visitors could mean redesigning the site so items are easier to find, streamlining the checkout process, adding products, building an FAQ page and suggesting related options. Keep in mind that you’re not necessarily going to make shifts unless there are enough visitors who are demanding the same change. 

It’s important to remember that just collecting data is not enough. Maybe you have many people answering the survey, but they are misusing your site and aren’t actual shoppers. Perhaps some of your visits come from bots. Make sure you understand the information well enough to take these issues into account. 

Related: 5 Recommendations To Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Buyers

There’s never been a better time to hear your customers

Each patron is going to come to your site to do something specific, whether that’s to see if something is in stock, leave a review or find which of your brick-and-mortar stores is nearby. If you can gather information from your visitors, then you can analyze that data to learn what their intent is and properly encourage them to make a purchase. 

Pay attention to the regulars already spending money on your site, but it’s also important to use customer surveys so as to develop strategies and therefore convert casual visitors into buyers. Over time, this effort will translate into the huge growth you’re after.

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The way people work has changed.


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The corporate world has changed more in the past two years than in the past twenty years. It took a pandemic to make people realize that you don’t need to travel for work two hours a day to sit in front of a computer that is connected to the internet anyway.

It is no longer possible to attract people to work at a full-time job in a corporate office because people have realized that the idea of a “safe and secure” job is just a dream that can collapse at any time. There is no need to work at a specific location in a specific city because we all live in the global village called the internet. 

If you have expertise on a specific skill, you can remotely work for the best companies in the world at command earnings that compete with anyone in the world with the same skill. And the best part is that you can work on a contract basis.

Related: 11 Best Websites for Freelancers to Find Jobs and Make Money

So what is preventing people from becoming freelancers and quit their day job (if they are fortunate to have one)? The lack of a personal brand.

The full-time corporate world operates on slightly different rules where you can jump from one company to another based on your personal network and influence. But in the freelance world, having a personal network is not enough, you need a personal brand.

Building a personal brand doesn’t mean becoming popular. A personal brand is built when you add value to people’s lives through your content, sometimes without charging anything for it.

If you want to build a strong personal brand as an influencer, you need to start with blogging. Write a few articles a month about what you learn, what you know and what you have experienced. Writing is the best way to let the world know that you exist.

Related: Here are the Advantages of Working as a Freelancer

Once you start writing, you will see that opportunities will come your way. Start helping out people with your content and then with free consultations. There are a ton of freelancing opportunities in the world, and you can become a specialist in one category. Let’s say, for example, you are an SEO expert. Start writing about SEO on your blog, share them on social media and post videos about what you know. 

Research companies that you want to help and maybe create an SEO audit report for them and cold-email it to them. If you add value first instead of asking for an opportunity, an opportunity will come your way. 

You cannot demand heat before you throw in the piece of wood. Set up a calendar that shows your available times and let people book a free 15-20 minute consultation call with you. This is how you add value and then get a sale, without asking explicitly for the sale.

Freelancing makes you an entrepreneur where the product is yourself. This is the first step in your long journey of building something for yourself, that eventually becomes greater than yourself. 

Freelancing also requires professional relationship skills, sales skills and the skill of adding more value than what you are getting paid for. This skill is vastly different from the skill of being an employee.

If you are not in a full-time corporate job right now, it is time to start freelancing instead of trying to find a job in the post-pandemic, new world order. 

If you are already in a corporate job, you need to start freelancing as a side-hustle as soon as possible. Even if you are just building your brand and doing free consultations, it is more than enough to start with because it creates the foundation for your future freelancing journey. 

You might have friction getting started in this journey if you are an employee or have been one. Because the typical mindset of an employee is to look for security and “something guaranteed” for every piece of effort that you put in. Getting started with your freelancing career is the first step in dealing with career and professional uncertainty.

I cannot tell you what opportunities you will get once you start building your personal brand. But I can say with conviction that once you start, you will start getting opportunities.

Related: 18 Freelance Sites to Find Your Next Gig

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Follow these five ways to learn new skills and stay competitive in today’s professional world.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Learning a new skill can be one of the most satisfying things you can do to grow. Learning a new skill is not just a financially smart decision, but it is also good for your mental health. When you learn new skills, you feel more powerful. New neural connections are formed in your brain when you learn something new. The best way to change your life is to change your mind. And learning new skills is the best way to change your mind, literally. 

When the normal routine of life makes your life dull, having entertainment alone is not enough to recharge yourself. Entertainment can be good for a weekend — but if you do not learn anything new for years, you will start hating your work.

The traditional system of education expects us to finish school and college and then work for the rest of our lives. That strategy might have worked 30 years back as the world was slowly moving towards the information age. It is not going to work anymore. To thrive in this day and age, learning has to become a habit and continuous up-gradation of skills is required to stay relevant and competitive. 

One of the biggest challenges in learning after school and college is that the learning journey becomes lonely. If you are trying to learn from a book or an online course with a set of video tutorials, your learning can become quite stressful. Students learn best when they are energetic and happy. And the only way to feel energetic and happy during your learning journey is to be part of a community that has the same learning goals as yours. 

1. Sign up for a cohort-based online course

Many online courses nowadays are cohort-based, and cohort-based online courses usually have a community around them. Being part of a community can impact your learning journey in very subtle ways that are not obvious. Remember, you are the average of the five people around you. 

If you are part of a learning community where you see other students have similar goals such as yours and if you see that they are making progress with their professional journey, you are highly likely to grow along with them. You will have a positive pressure to achieve results.

Related: Why Remote Learning is an Avenue That is Worth Exploring

2. Sign up for a mastermind program

After the completion of the online course, you can think about becoming part of a mastermind community where the learning journey continues beyond the course duration. A mastermind community is usually led by a mentor, and you will have the best of the best students as part of the community. 

Mastermind community memberships usually come at a premium, but it is worth the premium because the ideas that you get from the community for your career and business will be well worth the price. 

3. Start blogging about what you’ve learned

To make sure that you do not forget what you learn, take notes and write about what you have learned in your blog. Writing organizes your thought process and it is one of the best ways to remember. 

If you write in a public blog, you can also build your brand at the same time and may even start having some subscribers who want to copy your notes. A lot of digital mentors have built their following because they started taking their notes in public. 

Related: 4 Tips for Finding Your Profitable Blogging Niche

4. Implement your learning

You also have to make sure that you implement what you learn. Implementation is very important because when you implement your learnings and get results, you are going to have validated learning. Validating what you have learned will make sure that the concepts you are trying to learn will go from information to understanding. 

Once you understand something new, you will feel powerful and your perspective will expand. Once your perspective has expanded to new horizons, you will never be able to get back to your original state of thinking.

Also, implementing what you have learned gives you a project in hand. You get hired for what you can do, not what you know. Online course certificates usually prove that the student knows something, but not that they can do something. When you do a project, the project proves that you can do something. And who knows — the project can become a side hustle and may even become a business someday.

5. Become a digital mentor and teach

And finally, start teaching what you have learned to your followers. If you are already blogging and vlogging about what you know, you will have an audience. Create a smaller mastermind group where you are the mentor and help your students. This will mostly happen online. You are effectively becoming a digital mentor for your students. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn, because it forces you to simplify the concepts you already have in your mind.

Related: How VR Will Accelerate Talent Learning and Development

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Kick-start your picture perfect profession.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It is no secret that influencers can earn great money from their social networking accounts or blogs. The popularity that social media has received in the last decade has made this profession a dream job for many people. Being a well-known public figure is not just a hobby, but for some, a full-time occupation. Since pursuing this career path is becoming a more common objective, many entrepreneurs are wondering, How do I earn money from posting on social media? It is possible to make a lucrative business through being an influencer if you follow these five tips. 

1. Stick to your niche

In order to influence your fan base in a certain field, you first have to select a niche. If you do not pick one, you will have a hard time building an audience of people that are engaged and interested in your message. You do not have to limit yourself to just one category, but be sure your individual niches align with one another in some way. For example, you can combine health and fitness with lifestyle or beauty. It is also important to remember that your niche is not going to appeal to everyone, especially when you are just beginning your career as an influencer. The key to becoming successful in this profession is adding your unique voice and thoughts to everything you do. This will allow you to show off your strengths, passions and personality. 

2. Get a great publicist

For an influencer that is just starting out it is important for the public to know, and understand, who you are, what you do, and what separates you from other people in your field. Choosing the right publicist could be the difference between having a thriving career or failing in this profession. Publicists generate news stories to get their clients in front of the press and always be top of mind, making them invaluable when it comes to launching your influencing career.

Social media has opened new doors of publicity and fame for young people. Having a publicist on your team can put you a step closer to stardom because they have a clear understanding of media trends and the importance of building a strong foundation with your audience.

Related: 10 Ways to Get Global PR Exposure

3. Create shareable content

As an influencer, you have to consistently create content that your audience will love. The information must be high quality and packed full of value in order keep your fans engaged and following you for more. Plan your marketing strategy for social media by deciding on your goals and the type of content that will help you reach them. Determine how often you will post on each platform, and also what time, so you can receive the most engagement from your audience. The crucial thing here, as mentioned before, is adding your unique voice to all your content and establishing your image as an influencer. 

4. Engage your audience

Your success as an influencer depends a great deal on finding the right audience and community to support you. Without followers and fans, your brand does not hold much value on social media. Your target audience is the people that will power your brand, so they should be your main focus when you think about what to post. 

Your ideal fan base will depend on the market you are trying to tap into and your content quality should match their interests. Also pay attention to the comments on your posts or create posts that will engage your viewers so you can have more insight on what your fans want to see more or less of from your posts. This will make your followers feel closer to you and strengthen their loyalty. Knowing and engaging with your audience is important because it shows that you value them as much as they value you. 

Related: 7 Strategies Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Kardashians

5. Collaborate with other influencers

Collaborating with other established influencers in your niche can be a great way to increase your followers. Some public figures on social media have a huge reach and working with them can help expose your content to different audiences and bring more traffic to your profiles. To increase your chances of success, you can feature influencers in your content by doing interviews or covering their stories. Then tag them when you share the post and they will more than likely share it on their own profiles for their audience as well. 

When it comes to making money as a social media creator, the sky’s the limit. Taking the necessary steps to avoid mistakes that are frequently made by beginners is an important part of the process. In this profession you are encouraged to be creative and unique in order to stand out and attract a solid fan base. By following these five tips you will increase your chances of building a lucrative career from being an influencer in no time at all.

Related: Being an Influencer is a Job

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You might think that enjoying your last cup of joe in the late afternoon is enough to avoid adverse sleep effects, but science says otherwise.


3 min read


If you’re like most Americans, you start your morning by reaching for the hot cup of coffee — or several — that gives you the energy boost necessary to get through the day; 62% of people in the U.S. drink some form of the beverage every day, with consumption increasing in the younger demographic, according to Reuters

You’ve probably heard that caffeine can disrupt your sleep, but many people think that downing their last cup in the late afternoon, or even in the early evening, is early enough to avoid any adverse effects come bedtime. Unfortunately, the science says otherwise: Independent cites research suggesting that you should hold off on the magical bean brew once 2 p.m. rolls around, or at least seven hours before you plan to go to bed. 

Related: 5 Ways That Coffee Affects Productivity

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, consuming caffeine in the six hours before bed won’t necessarily keep you awake, but it will reduce your quality of sleep. It also wreaks havoc on your body’s internal clock, mimicking the effect of jet lag. According to another study published in Science Translational Medicine, enjoying a double espresso three hours before bed (or its equivalent, approximately 60-100mg of caffeine) can wind your body’s clock back by nearly an hour. 

When it comes to how many cups you should be drinking per day, the Mayo Clinic recommends about four, which should approximate 400mg of caffeine.

Soda- and energy drink-lovers should take note of these findings too — caffeine is caffeine, which means that the suggested 2 p.m. cutoff also applies. 

What’s the big deal? Disrupting the body’s clock does more than leave you feeling groggy the next day; it’s also been linked to heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. 

It’s not all bad news though: As long as you get your java fill between 10 a.m and noon — the window of time when that rush of caffeine is most needed and most effective — you can reap the rewards of your daily habit without worrying about the costs. 

Related: Do You Drink More Coffee Than Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Other Creative Leaders?

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Covid-19 forced businesses to create a more empathetic and flexible environment. Continuing these new practices will help create a more inviting and enjoyable workplace.


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


For years, professionals have asserted that the ability to adapt and be flexible would determine whether businesses sank or swam. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, put that ability to the absolute test in 2020. We’ve learned some major lessons through the crisis that, fortunately, hold the potential to help company leaders and teams build back stronger than ever before.

1. Providing better health and wellness resources  

During the pandemic, people faced a slew of new stresses and disruptions to their everyday life. Many individuals struggled to do things like make doctor appointments or eat right. Personally, I struggled with being unable to sleep well  my home and work life blurred so much that my mind simply wouldn’t shut down. 

Companies discovered that they had to face these issues head-on during the crisis, both to maintain productivity and to ensure that workers felt cared for. We learned the necessity of total wellness resources, including mental health, financial health and various other kinds of support. We expanded existing programs and came up with new tools to support employees and their families.

The expansion of telehealth services is a good example. At my workplace, one of our Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDT) products helps people who struggle with chronic insomnia. We offered this as an added resource for employees in our comprehensive benefit program. In using it, I had the opportunity to learn the importance of sleep, and it helped me create healthier behaviors and habits. It was life changing for me, and I am forever grateful. It’s the small things that companies don’t always think about that can make the biggest difference in our team members’ lives.

Related: A Year of Pandemic: Learning for Entrepreneurs and SMEs

2. Rallying around empathy

Before the pandemic, employers and employees interacted with a relatively limited degree of vulnerability. They couldn’t really understand what the home lives of others were like. With so many people working from home, it leveled the playing field. Both workers and leaders had to show their realities and deal with interruptions from pets, kids and significant others. Many learned to be more empathetic and accepting of the personal circumstances people had. 

Overall, this lesson has helped many companies, including my own, shape more grateful, caring and compassionate cultures, where people are free to speak up on topics other than work. My company encouraged managers to check in regularly in order to understand how they were feeling, not just about their jobs, but also about issues like civil unrest, the presidential race or their home life. We asked employees and managers to demonstrate “unified empathy,” put themselves in the other person’s shoes and offer more conscientiousness.

Related: Why an Adaptive Mindset Matters for Entrepreneurs

3. The clock doesn’t have to rule productivity 

In the early days of the pandemic, the big worry for employers was how to keep workers motivated and productive from afar. It was almost impossible for many employees to keep their regular schedules, and it only got more difficult once homeschooling began. Businesses had to accommodate more unusual work hours and be flexible based on case-by-case situations. They learned that workers still got their tasks done even without face-to-face supervision or a traditional daily schedule.

4. Leveraging communication tools matters

Even though workers had digital communication tools like email before the pandemic hit, most teams still relied heavily on in-person collaboration. But once businesses had to work remotely, they had to collaborate more through tools like Trello, Slack and Zoom. They learned that they could still achieve effective communication through these options and that leveraging them could help maintain or even improve results. Even so, tools are only as good as the users that are using them. Companies have to encourage consistency and build good habits in the way they use these solutions and include strategies to ensure that people easily navigate and find value in whatever tool they select.

Related: The 4 Best Tools for Internal Business Communication

With the pandemic now coming under control in the United States, businesses are starting to end their remote journeys and go back to the office. They can apply all of what they have learned to make the post-pandemic work environment more inviting. Even so, the past year has been a roller coaster. Ideally, we need to give employees time to acclimate. Take small steps, such as easing your way back in slowly with just one or two days at the office per week to start. With a little patience, you can adapt, get your footing and walk a road with a new perspective that brings even more success. 

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Many startups (like ours) don’t have outside investors. We have chosen to self-fund our business, which has its pros and cons. While we are maintaining control (a good thing), one of the biggest challenges is funding marketing, which as we all know, is necessary to grow. The good news is that there are many scrappy marketing tactics and channels you can deploy to build momentum without spending your hard-earned cash.

Here are five tips that we’ve used over the past year that have worked for us.

1. Podcasts

There are always podcasts looking for guests to speak on every topic under the sun. We have been on over 75 podcasts in the past year, covering a range of topics: female founders, marketing, startup life, DTC, clean beauty, mompreneurs and more. Find your areas of expertise (everyone has them), then you can pitch yourself.

There are a number of “Find a Guest, Be a Guest” podcast groups on Facebook, including one I like by Poddit that you can join. From there, you can browse through the “asks” and apply to podcasts that are relevant to you. The beauty of podcasts is that the majority do not charge anything to be a guest; they are evergreen, and most of the time, you get to tell a holistic story about your journey and your business. Plus, an extra bonus is that you’ll have content you can share out and repurpose.

Related: Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

2. Partnerships

 Another great way to grow your customer base and audience is to partner with like-minded brands. We have had a lot of success in finding new customers by partnering with brands that share our values. For us, that tends to be indie clean beauty, fashion and jewelry brands who care about sustainability, diversity and quality.

From giveaways to gift with purchases to creating content together (like blogs, IG Live or video interviews), there’s a ton you can do to promote each other. And chances are if your customers like your brand, they may like a related brand with similar values. The key is to make sure everyone is aligned on the requirements for each brand so no one brand feels like it contributed more than another. 

3. Blogs

 Creating a blog section on your website can help with a number of things. First, it can drive traffic to your site (assuming you have baked in some SEO). Second, it can make you an authority in your area of expertise or industry. And third, blogs provide a place to tell a deeper story. We often blog about our interviews with other founders, but we also use our blog to educate around Mekabu, our hero ingredient, share hair tips, talk about clean beauty and more. This gives you another opportuity to share out content  and you can pull out quotes or soundbites for social media so you’re not always reinventing the wheel.

Related: 3 Ways to Create More Content (and Views) From Your Blogs

4. Livestreaming

 We are active on a number of livestreaming platforms including talkshoplive, Shop LIT Live and Spin. Most of the platforms are free to join and will take a portion of revenue from sales, making it a very low risk proposition for brands. If you sell a product, these platforms provide a great place for you to share your story in an engaging way (video) and to get creative. You’ll need to be comfortable on camera and get your story down, but the beauty of these platforms is that you can do most of them regularly (every week if you want), so you’ll find yourself getting into a groove pretty easily and figuring out what works for you. The key is to have good lighting (a ring light) and an engaging set up.

5. Social media 

Of course, we can’t forget the power of social media. Much of the above content can be disseminated via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tik Tok and even LinkedIn. Actively working to create engaging content will help grow your audience organically (although it takes effort and time), so you shouldn’t have to pay for followers. You will also have higher quality and more engaged followers this way. Ultimately, if you can cut down some of your longer form content into soundbites, you’ll have plenty for social  most of it free.

We are very opportunistic about taking photos of our products in interesting spaces (and will often have a set of products with us just in case), which enables us to get beautiful imagery without needing to hire a photographer. Of course, there are times when a professional photographer is much better, but for a lot of the “blocking and tackling” content, you can find ways to get the imagery that you need (and don’t forget about sites like Unsplash where you can download royalty-free photography).

Related: 10 Laws of Social-Media Marketing

So ultimately, in order to get momentum without money, you’ll have to be a bit more hands-on and disciplined, but it’s actually quite doable. And you’ll find that many times, the different tactics feed off each other, so it gets easier over time. 

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