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Ted Murphy

4 Ways to Fund Your Business

For many people, small business ownership is the American Dream. The ability to be your own boss (the business is the real boss), set your own hours (as long you work at least 80 hours a week) and build your own success (over a long period of time) can be appealing (if you are crazy enough). Money is one major barrier to entry for would-be entrepreneurs, however, and it can stop many people from following through with their business plans.

Unless you have a reliable method of funding your new business, you won’t be able to get it off the ground or keep it going. Fortunately, there are many types of funding options available. I have been fortunate enough to experience each of these funding paths at various stages of my carrier. They each serve a purpose, depending on the size and stage of the company and ultimate opportunity.

Credit Cards

In 1995 I maxed out my personal credit card to start a graphic design firm with a partner. Credit cards are one of the easiest types of credit to qualify for and as you establish your business you may be able to qualify for a business credit card (I love my AMEX). Many business cards come with special perks that make them appealing to entrepreneurs. When used wisely, credit cards can be a good way to set get through a cash crunch (I have used my credit card to creatively finance a payroll on more than one occasion). Unfortunately, they can also damage the owner’s credit if allowed to get out of control, and high interest rates make them a poor choice for businesses without immediate returns.


  • Relatively easy to qualify for
  • Convenient to use
  • Rewards programs offer valuable incentives


  • High interest rates
  • Easy to spend inappropriately
  • May not offer high enough limits to be valuable

Friends and Family

Asking friends and family for loans toward starting a business is an obvious choice, but may not always be the best idea. Money from family members often comes with strings attached, and your family’s expectations can have a detrimental effect on your business. Financial transactions between friends or family members can also lead to resentment if you default. If you do choose this route, be sure to write and abide by legal loan terms.


  • Capital can sometimes be given for free rather than loaned
  • Low or non-existent interest rates on loans
  • Money is available even to borrowers with poor or no credit


  • Friends or family may feel they have a say in your business plays due to their investment
  • Relationships can be strained by financial arrangements
  • You may not be able to get enough money to cover your expenses

Angel Investors

Angel investors are people who offer to provide start-up money to a business in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. These investors may work in groups or networks, and most angel investors are themselves retired entrepreneurs. While most people think Angel investors are strictly for startups, they can also be very helpful in recapitalization situations or buyouts.


  • Terms are more favorable than most other lenders
  • One-time and on-going investments may be available
  • Many investors are sympathetic and understanding due to their own entrepreneurial backgrounds


  • It can be hard to find an angel investor
  • You share equity in your business with the investor
  • Details vary between investors so research is required to ensure a fair dea

Venture Capital

Venture capital investors provide money in the early stages of promising new businesses. In return, investors reap the rewards of equity, often with a liquidation preference. Most venture capitalists (VCs) are investing the money of clients, not their own money. VCs look for big ideas with big potential for returns. They are not going to invest in your local coffee shop or small online store.


  • Large amounts of money are available if you can land a VC investment
  • You don’t take on any debt (though there can be a “coupon” on the money invested)
  • The backing of a venture capitalist can help give your business some legitimacy


  • You must share equity and often management via board seats in your business
  • Very few businesses qualify for venture capital investments
  • Deal structures are often detrimental to entrepreneurs unless you knock it out of the park.

Ultimately, there is no one right method for funding your business. Whether you choose one of these, or you decide to try something like KickStarter – it’s up to you as an entrepreneur to review your options and make the best choice for your individual needs. By understanding your choices, you can pick the funding that will serve your business best.

The one thing I can share is that the source of the money does matter. If you decide to take money from friends, family, angels or VCs make sure you know who you are getting in bed with.

Orlando’s Voxeo Acquired for $150 Million

VoxeoCorpLogo-300Today, Aspect Software acquired Orlando-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and customer service software company Voxeo in a $150 million deal. Aspect currently offers integrated customer interaction management and workforce optimization solutions, but made the deal to accelerate their delivery of cloud, hybrid and premise-based deployments.

As the market leader in robust cloud, on-premise and hybrid self-service platforms, Voxeo works with 250,000 developers, 45,000 companies and half of the Fortune 100 from their Orlando, Beijing, Cologne and London headquarters. Earlier this week the company spun off Voxeo Labs (now Tropo), which specializes in real-time communication APIs.

Since its founding in 1999 (the year I moved to Orlando), Voxeo has helped nurture growth within Orlando’s tech and startup community of about 60,000 professionals. As the city moves forward with plans for the much-anticipated Creative Village, Voxeo has lent a hand, fostering a “co-working” atmosphere, wherein it shares its 60,000 square-foot office with 10 other tech companies.

This mentality has cultivated a hotbed of creativity and innovation that sets the tone for the city’s future and promises for a lot more innovative tech disruption. Voxeo’s acquisition comes on the heels of Google’s $125 million acquisition of Channel Intelligence to boost product referrals and e-commerce with users. Orlando is heating up as a technology hub, and these two acquisitions demonstrate that would-be entrepreneurs can build successful tech companies here.

jonathan_taylorI pinged Jonathan Taylor, Founder and Chairman of Voxeo to get his thoughts about the acquisition (photo from our discussion at Trucks & Tech)

Why was Aspect Software a good fit to acquire Voxeo?

Because of the growth synergy between the two companies. This deal is a Reese’s peanut butter cup of ass-kicking awesomeness. Aspect’s the chocolate, and Voxeo is the peanut butter. They just go great together.

Honestly, if I was an Aspect competitor I’d be crying myself to sleep tonight.

This was a 14 year long journey for you. What was the hardest part?

When we started Voxeo the dot-com era was in full effect. I told all the founders we’d put in two or three years and sell. That’s what everyone did then. Instead we went through a first phase of dot-com economic excess, a second phase of post dot-com economic recess, and a third phase of business-growth stress.

The first phase was hard. It was like 100 tons of work. The second phase was 1,000 tons of work; and the growth phase was 10,000 tons.

I wasn’t expecting that.

In retrospect, I realize everyone can do the easy things. Solutions to easy problems aren’t all that valuable. Solutions to hard problems are extremely valuable. If things aren’t getting harder, you’re probably not pushing your growth enough.

How does this effect the team here in Orlando? Will the company be changing names or location?

I don’t know if the name will change or not. I personally doubt that the company will change locations. Orlando offers great opportunities at a great price.

An acquisition like this is a big win for the Orlando tech community. What would you tell other Orlando entrepreneurs they need to do to replicate Voxeo’s success?

a) consider lots of ideas, b) research your ideas to find great (i.e., large) market opportunities, c) have an exit strategy, d) be tenacious, e) always remember that the most valuable thing you can do is make your customers love you, your products, and your support.

Specific to Orlando – I’ve told this before, but I think it bears repeating: I once heard a story about how Silicon Valley works. In Silicon Valley an entrepreneur creates a great business idea, walks up to a tree, and shakes it. A venture capital investor falls out of the tree, reviews the entrepreneurs plan, and invests. At some point the entrepreneur sells his or her company, gets a new idea, and goes and shakes a tree again, repeating the cycle. After repeating this a few times, the entrepreneur climbs up into a tree and waits for someone to shake it.

Their are many entrepreneurs shaking and climbing up trees in Central Florida right now. It make take a year, or two years, or five years – but I believe we will see Central Florida become a top location for technology startups.

What is next for you personally?

Last year Voxeo spun our Voxeo Labs division out into a separate company, which we recently renamed Tropo, Inc. Tropo was not part of the Aspect acquisition, and I’ll be spending a good deal of my time helping Tropo as its Chairman. Voxeo’s prior CFO and I also launched a new startup, Sighthound, which will exit stealth-mode in the next few months. Tropo and Sighthound will be my primary focus, however, I’m also looking for other companies to help with or invest in.

A huge congratulations to the entire Voxeo team!

5 Questions with Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan’s accomplishments are as varied as they are numerous. He is not only an author and a journalist, but also a marketing consultant and speaker with an incredible stage presence. I first met Chris in the early days of PayPerPost and over the years (and a gazillion trade shows) we have become friends. I often consult with Chris when I have new ideas that I want to bounce off someone I trust.

the_imapct_equationBrogan started his career as a writer for Entrepreneur magazine; 13 years later his blog is one of the Top 3 of the Advertising Age Power 150. He is an author well known for several books, most notably Trust Agents. He was also the coauthor of The Impact Equation, along with Julien Smith, which was a New York Times and a Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is currently the CEO of Human Business Works.

human_business_works_logoHis success has garnered attention from all sorts of sources: from news articles in Forbes Magazine and The Boston Globe to television appearances on The Dr. Phil Show. He notes, ironically, that many people seem more impressed with his TV appearance than they do with his being a New York Times Bestselling author.

Brogan has landed speaking gigs from the big boys including Google, Coca-Cola, Dell, GM, Microsoft, Pepsico and of course IZEA. He speaks to people from all walks of life, from book publishers to government agencies to students, he prides himself on his personable speaking style and his ability to relate to all audiences.

I had the opportunity to ask Chris a couple questions:

1. So many businesses are cash constrained and have little to invest in marketing right now. What are three low cost ways to gain exposure and grow your sales?

Depending on your product, a free webinar can be a great way to get people to come and pay attention. I use webinars to build my newsletter list, and this, in turn, builds my sales funnel, as a lot of my sales are via email. You can edit this process such that the webinar leads people to whatever gets your funnel moving.

Two other ways are co-op marketing (marketing with some other brand where it’s mutually beneficial) and content marketing (creating really useful ebooks or apps that promote a potential lead).

2. Today you are hugely successful, but I know there were bumps along the way. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as an entrepreneur?

I’ll accept moderately successful. My biggest challenge was learning how to say no and to focus more. I used to say yes to whatever possibility showed up, and that caused me to lose a lot of time and spend a lot of money and resources shifting gears. Now, I focus on the community I have the pleasure to serve, and that’s it.

3. You are widely known as a proponent of content marketing, but many small businesses are challenged to find inspiration on an ongoing basis. What do you do to keep the juices flowing?

I answer the same question over and over again: what would make my buyer’s experience much better? What would a prospective buyer need to know whether or not he or she buys my product? I approach this like a magazine, and as if I have the privilege of being the voice that covers that space. I never run out of content to create. Never.

4. Social media has changed the business world dramatically, but some fundamentals remain the same. What is the one thing business owners should never lose sight of?

Respond to your customer. Respond, reply, connect. Customers are asking for attention all the time. Sure it takes time and work. That’s all they want. We are all six year old kids tugging on a parent’s shirt hem asking them to look at our thing.

5. Many business owners struggle to balance work and their personal life. You have recently been on a health kick, what drove you to get in shape and how is it coming along?

I’m 43 years old and the realization was that I really needed to choose now to set my body up to be in the shape I want it to be for the next 60 years, if all goes well. Further, I started thinking of how much of why I’m not especially healthy is a bunch of excuses I wouldn’t accept as a business professional. That’s what got me moving. It doesn’t hurt to have a very attractive girlfriend who’s training to compete in professional figure model competitions (bodybuilding stuff), as I don’t want to be the schlub standing beside her. 🙂

The Best Little Portable Speaker

This past January at CES I scoured the show floor for electronics that truly impressed me. I stopped by Jabra’s booth and instantly feel in love with the Jabra Solemate. The Jabra team very kindly gave me one for free and  7 months later I have decided I love it enough to write about it.

If you follow me you know I am constantly on the go and travel non-stop. I love to listen to music while I work, and will often play music out of my iPhone’s speakers while in my hotel room. While the iPhone is surprising loud, it is not very clear and lacks any hint of bass whatsoever.

Little Package. BIG Sound.

The Soulmate changes all of that for me. From the moment you pickup the Solemate you will be impressed by the quality of construction and the weight of the device. Turn it on and a deep bass “bonnnnngg” demonstrates just how loud this portable speaker is. Connect it via bluetooth to your iPhone (or other inferior mobile device) and you will simply be amazed by what comes out of this little black (or white) box. This thing destroys the Jambox by Jawbone.


I recently took the Solemate to a beach party and it was an instant hit. It was loud enough to overcome all the people talking and the ambient noise of the ocean – so much so that people started dancing (ok, ok, ok – there may have been some alcohol involved). The long battery life (it is rated for 10 hours of music streaming) gave us enough charge to last our entire time at the beach, and to top it off the Solemate comes with a handy sand-proof bag.

I love the fact that I can keep my iPhone in my pocket and walk away from the Solemate. I’ve noticed that it gets about 20-30 feet of distance before it disconnects, but this is more than enough for most applications. You don’t have to wire into your speakers and leave your phone exposed for would-be thieves…or worse…would-be DJs messing up your playlist.

The Solemate features a unique rubber bottom that looks like the sole of a chunky shoe. It makes it so the speaker does not slide around when it is on smooth surfaces. Jabra also boasts that this design will limit vibrations from the speaker, which I can attest that to be true as well.

I have used the Solemate in my truck as a bluetooth speakerphone for conference calls. It has a built in omni-directional noise canceling microphone that works better than the one built into my wife’s SUV. Soulmate uses digital signal processing to optimize your voice and music and suppresses echoes.

All in all I give this device 5/5 tongues. I highly recommend it.

You can buy it through Amazon for about $150.00 (yes, I am an Amazon affiliate).

Thalmic Labs Wants You to Feel It

thalmic_labsSailing into the future of human-computer interaction and competing for uncharted territory with stiff competition from Google Glass and Leap Motion’s 3D gesture controller is Thalmic Labs and its flagship product MYO. MYO is a one-size-fits-all armband device that can harness your muscles’ electrical activity, allowing you to wirelessly control your computer, smartphone, tablet or other digital device. That means, with a wave of your hand, MYO will transform how you interact with the digital world.

thalmic_labs_armbandThe Waterloo-based startup, nested in the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, has dedicated itself to the development of gesture control and wearable technology since its founding in 2012. The company is an alumnus of University of Waterloo VeloCity and Y Combinator, and is the brainchild of co-founders Matthew Bailey, Aaron Grant and Stephen Lake.

MYO communicates with devices through Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and features on-board, rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries, as well as an ARM processor. Windows and Mac OS are fully supported, and APIs for iOS and Android will be available soon. Sound too good to be true? Check out the armband in action.

Although it’s not set to launch until late 2013, the $149 device and startup company have had little trouble attracting attention from the tech community. The product has already amassed over 30,000 pre-orders, with 10,000 of those orders placed in the first two days after the product’s announcement – that translates to $4.5 million before the product has even hit the shelves.

thalmic_labs_foundersWith such hype around this ground breaking device, it’s no suprise that Thalmic Labs has attracted world-class investors including Spark Capital, Intel Capital, Formation 8, First Round Capital and FundersClub, along with a long list of individual investors ranging from tech superstar Paul Graham to ATI co-founder Lee Lau and CEO Marc Benioff. In June of this year the startup raised $14.5 million in Series A funding, complementing its initial $1 million angel round in 2012. The cash injection has fueled MYO research and development, as well as talent acquisition.

Hardware is a tricky, unforgiving industry. Luckily, Thalmic Labs is navigating the waters just fine, with raving fans even before its first product launch. It will be interesting to see how MYO will evolve after release. There are definitely a lot of possible opportunities for the device – such as the ability to use two MYOs simultaneously or allowing it to pair with more than one device at the same time. Developers, stay tuned for Thalmic’s developer’s site, which is set to launch soon with more information on APIs and integration.

Soup Dumpling Awesomeness

Like most business travelers I have my “go-to” places in the cities that I regularly visit. When I visit New York, Joe’s Shanghai is up at the top of the list. I originally discovered Joe’s back in 2003, a friend took me to the Chinatown location (9 Pell Street) and I instantly fell in love.

Joe’s isn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination. The Chinatown location is old, cramped and sports dusty neon lights straight out of the 80s. When you are shown to your table, you may be surprised that you will be sharing it with a complete group of strangers and sitting (very) closely to people that aren’t part of your party. Chances are they will already be half way through their meal, speaking Chinese to each other as they eat things you will be afraid to order.


I like to experiment, but I am not down with fish heads. The reason I go to Joe’s can be summed up in two words – soup dumplings. You may think you have had something like them before, but I promise you have never had soup dumplings until you have had them at Joe’s. There is always a line out the door and these little pouches of soupy happiness are why. Order the pork dumplings and your belly will smile.

Soup DumplingsWhile the reason to go is the dumplings, they do offer a full list of options on the menu. Other favorites of mine include Joe’s Shanghai Noodles, Crispy Beef and Shrimp Grand Marnier (not on the menu). If you head to the Chinatown location know that it can feel a little sketchy at night if you aren’t comfortable in big cities. They don’t accept credit cards so make sure you have some cash.

If you are looking for a slightly more upscale experience you can checkout the Joe’s on 56th street in Midtown. They offer soup dumplings, though they are more expensive and always feel a bit smaller in size to me. You get 8 dumplings for $6.95 in Chinatown – you get 6 dumplings for $8.95 in Midtown. The upside to Midtown is you get your own table, there is rarely a line and they accept credit cards. Not quite the authentic experience, but a close second if you can’t make it down to Chinatown.

Have another Chinese restaurant you love in New York? Let me know and I will check it out on my next visit.

5 Creative Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team

A position in sales can be incredibly lucrative, and thankfully this means there is rarely a shortage in applicants. Unfortunately the sales life is a tough slog, and not everyone is cut out for it. It is demanding – sales people often don’t get the respect they deserve from other departments, and it is among the most stressful roles in any organization. The job never ends for salespeople. Had a good month? Well… that was last month! Unfortunately for the sales person, there are always more sales to be had.

All that pressure can lead to sales fatigue. People can get demotivated, especially when there are bumps along the road. Here are 5 quick ideas that go beyond the typical cash commissions and bonuses that you can use to keep your team motivated.

1. Give Incentives That Can Be Seen by Others.

A reward that others can see is much more effective in motivating the entire team than one that can’t. If all you are offering is more cash on a pay stub, the person getting it may be elated – but the others won’t notice much difference. I prefer a much more public approach. Ship your rockstar sales person off to the Dominican Republic with their loved one for a week, Instagramming and Facebooking the whole time… hey, that could be you!

2. Build Value.

Sell your salesperson on the value of selling. Sometimes a lacking salesperson might just have lost sight of the impact of their work. Remind them how they are the lifeblood of the company, that they ultimately provide the income that supports the entire organization. Point out ways in which their work is adding value to the client’s life. Money, while fantastic, isn’t a motivator in and of itself. It’s the happiness and joy that comes with it, and those are the things that can help push someone out of a slump.

glengarry_steak_knives-thumb-425x239-365773. Provide Small Rewards for Small Details.

Sometimes it truly is the little things! Announce first thing in the morning you’ll treat the first person to make a sale to lunch. Keep an eye out for deals to stock up on small rewards, even things as simple as candy bars or Starbucks gift cards, and pass them out when you overhear something positive.

4. Invest in the Self.

People are more motivated when they see the lasting impact they have, so, provide some of that to the people on your team. If you have stock options to give, give them! If you aren’t in the position to offer stock, do something as simple as asking if they’d like to take any personal courses to invest in themselves.

5. Sell Something!

If all else fails (and really, even if it doesn’t), get your ass out there and show your sales team how it is done! Sell a new client, bring in a new partner or close on an investment. Nothing gets sales people more excited than seeing their leader in the trenches alongside them.


Jeremiah Owyang’s Collaborative Economy

I first met Jeremiah Owyang back in 2005 when he was working for Hitachi Data Systems. I interviewed him for my podcast called Internet Marketing Voodoo (you didn’t know I used to be a podcaster did you?).

Those were the very early days of social media, before Twitter even existed. He and I would often see each other at conferences where we would both be speaking about the coming wave of “consumer generated media” and the impact it would have on business. Those were very exciting – yet frustrating – times as many of the C-Level execs we addressed just couldn’t see the future that was so clear to both of us.

altimeter_group_logoI recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jeremiah, now a Partner at Altimeter Group, on a trip to the bay area. We traded war stories like old veterans that served on the front line of a long, bloody battle. In many ways I felt like I was closing a chapter in my professional life. Jeremiah was the person that first broke the PayPerPost story online by sharing the launch with Mike Arrington. That post started a ethical battle about paid social media that would rage for years. It is now clear that I was on the right side of that battle – though I took many an arrow in the back for leading the way.

The Next Chapter

Jeremiah and I are both looking to the next big thing. I am working on a new product (details coming soon) and he is blazing a trail with his research on the collaborative economy. He shared his thoughts with me over breakfast and I think he is on to something huge. Many of the principles he speaks about are already baked into the product I am working on.

This is the next wave of innovation and opportunity for business, both online and offline. While it may sound a like a fad right now –  just remember that people said the same of social media. I interviewed him via email as a followup to our conversation:

Collaborative Economy

What exactly is the collaborative economy?

jeremiah_videoOur tight definition is: The Collaborative Economy is an economic model where ownership and access are shared between people, startups, and corporations. We currently see that corporations are being disrupted by the sharing revolution, and are fighting back through lobbyists or marketing. We see an opportunity for corporations to get involved, and not stand by the wayside.

(The details of this are in the research report published here. Also check out this video and this series of posts by Jeremiah)

Collaborative Economy

What inspired your research?

Over dinner, Loic Le Meur, the founder of LeWeb and serial entrepreneur leaned over and told me in his charming French accent that the next LeWeb would be about sharing, at the time he called it “digital hippies”, which he settled on the sharing economy. It took a few weeks for it to sink in, and as I probed the space, I realized that this was a major disruption to corporations as people could buy one product once, and then share many times with each other –not needed to buy again. I also saw there were many corporate business opportunities for the taking, but the idea and concept had not yet been fully baked in the market, so I did what I do best: I conducted a research project to find out what is possible –and what is not.

Your vision of the future must be met with some resistance because it challenges the status quo. What do the naysayers push back on most often and what is your response?

This reminds me of 2005-2006 when we first started to get together Ted and create social media (back then we called it something else), and we were singing the exact same song that corporations need to get on board or lose out. It feels the exact same way as I heard it eight years ago, but now, rather than sharing media, people are sharing goods and services. When I told you, I could see the same fire in your eyes light up that I saw in us 8 years ago.

How does this shift effect the small retailer running a store in my neighborhood? What can they do to adapt?

This is a great opportunity for any size business, as they can now unlock any inventory or space or services that are idle and resell on the market, or they can offer their own services on demand we call this Company as a Service. Companies can also Motivate a Marketplace of customers around them to resell or add new value to the products and goods that are being shared in their own market. For example small business ScotteVest encourages their own customers from their dot com to buy and sell used goods, bringing the community of customers closer to them.

In what ways has the collaborative economy effected you personally? What are you doing now that you didn’t do 5 years ago?

Well, for one, I let a stranger drive off in my family car using a website called RelayRide so I could generate revenues from my idle car that was sitting on the curb. The out of town college student got a car for the weekend, I got some revenues, and we both won. I also use Taskrabbit for work at the office, as well as at home, tapping into workers on demand. At Altimeter, where I’m a partner, we’re tapping into LiquidSpace to find meeting space on demand for our remote meetings and more.

Collaborative Economy

It’s key to remember, this is still part of social business. The first phase was sharing media and ideas, the second phase is about sharing goods and services.

Welcome to the Collaborative Economy.

CustomMade Wants to Customize Everything


Custom Made Anything helps people buy and sell a variety of unique merchandise. Consumers use the website to order custom clothing, musical instruments, jewelry, furniture, rugs and a range of other items. Thousands of independent artisans build the products they request. The website provides a safe marketplace for these transactions.

I orginally found the website when I was thinking about selling some of my woodworking projects online. I love online marketplaces, and this is one of the coolest ones out there for custom physical products.

How it Works

New projects start when buyers post requests for specific items. For example, a person might ask for a rug that is designed to fit an oddly shaped room. The customer may supply details on the desired colors, materials and measurements. He or she can obtain assistance from an employee by using the free CustomMade Concierge service.

Next, “makers” begin bidding on the project. The buyer is free to review each seller profile and purchase the item from any person who submits a bid. charges the artisan a commission after the customer’s payment is received. As of June 2013, the fee is equivalent to one-tenth of a product’s selling price. The company caps fees at $1,000 per project.

Protecting Users

One of the main benefits of using is that the company strives to prevent fraudulent transactions. Its policies ensure that sellers are paid and customers receive the products they request. The staff works to find mutually acceptable solutions to disputes. They compensate the buyer if an item is misrepresented or never arrives. also protects members by maintaining a feedback system that helps them avoid incompetent sellers. It rewards artisans who achieve high rates of customer satisfaction. People also use this website because the automated bidding system allows them to screen sellers and obtain competitive quotes with relatively little effort.

custommade_foundersCompany Background was co-founded by Mike Salguero and Seth Rosen. They purchased the website’s domain name in 2009, according to CNN. After a successful campaign to recruit artisans, the company began to attract large-scale investment. Firms like First Round Capital and Google Ventures invested over $2 million in 2011.TechCrunch reported that investors had supplied the company with about $8 million by April 2012. Today, it has dozens of staff members and over 12,300 sellers. The company headquarters are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

7 Successful Entrepreneurs that Failed First

Many entrepreneurs experience failure and rejection before they find success. Those that do succeed know that it takes determination to reach their goals and fulfill their dreams. I have personally been through many a trial, but I have never given up.

Every “no” gets you closer to a “yes”. Every failure gets you closer to success.

Here are some “failures” that I admire.

dorseyJack Dorsey

While Jack Dorsey is currently considered one of the golden boys of Silicon Valley, he was actually fired as CEO of Twitter in 2008. He went on to found Square and later returned to Twitter as Executive Chairman.

edisonThomas Edison

School teachers told Edison that he was stupid. He invented almost 1,000 light bulbs before one of them worked. Now Edison is one of the most famous inventors in United States history. He held 1,093 U.S. patents, including 1084 utility patents (patents for inventions) and 9 artistic design patents.

oprahOprah Winfrey

Oprah has confessed that she was fired from her television reporting job early in her career because of her appearance. Winfrey persevered and became the queen of television talk shows with her own production company and later her own television network.

fordHenry Ford

Ford’s first company went out of business. He abandoned his second auto company bearing his own name because of a dispute with colleagues. He later created the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and pioneered the production line, revolutionizing the automotive industry. Over 110 years later the company is still going strong.

jk_rowlingJ.K. Rowling

Rowling was as an unemployed single mother living in England when she conceived the idea for the first Harry Potter novel. It took her seven years to complete it and during this period she lived in poverty. The first book Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was a bestseller worldwide. The Potter books have now sold more than 400 million copies.

disneyWalt Disney

As a teenager Disney was constantly rejected when he applied for cartoonist jobs. A reporter once told him he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Eventually Disney decided to found his own cartoon studio when he was 22. Unfortunately the company went bankrupt. He then went to Los Angeles where he founded the Disney Studios with his brother Roy. The Walt Disney company is now 66 on the Fortune 500.

steve_jobsSteve Jobs

The board of directors of Apple fired Steve Jobs in 1985. He was responsible for the Macintosh division which performed poorly and the company had to discontinue the Lisa computer. Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s as an advisor and eventually became the CEO. He prevented Apple from going into bankruptcy and made it a profitable company by 1998.