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Startup Law 101 Series – Tips From a Business Lawyer on Becoming a Founder

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Introduction

Why become a founder? What are some things you can do to become a successful founder?

Having worked extensively with founders as a startup business lawyer in Silicon Valley for many years now, and having built my own business as well, I have a few tips to share on these points.

Tips on Why You Should Become a Founder

Why become a founder?

1. If you succeed as a founder, you will make far more than you would as an employee. Obvious, but worth repeating.

Founders want the large upside that will come from a successful venture. The goal is very hard to achieve but the rewards can be great.

2. If you succeed as a founder, you keep more of what you earn.

As an employee, you will get hit with ever-increasing taxes on your compensation.

Forget about the rich. It is the average employee who gets soaked. You pay, say, up to a third of what you earn for federal, state, and local income taxes. Add another nearly 10% for payroll taxes. Now assume that inflation bumps you into higher tax brackets. Rates are then raised for those brackets. Then payroll tax rates go up. And the social security cap lifted. And new taxes added to fund future health benefits. You will be left with an ever-diminishing net amount from your pay. Welcome to being the employee of the future.

As a founder, however, your largest reward by far will come not from salary but from a liquidity event at which you cash in your chips. At that point, you pay a one-time capital gains tax for the vast part of the economic reward you derive from your venture. You pay less income tax because the capital-gains rate is lower. And you pay no employment taxes at all. With capital gains, you also control timing somewhat and this can further help minimize what you pay.

It all comes from the same effort. You sweat for what you earn. You can take your reward as ordinary income or, as a founder, convert a big part of it into far more advantageous equity gains. With success, you not only earn more but you keep more as well.

3. Being a founder can be not only financially but also psychologically rewarding.

When you venture out, you get the chance to realize a vision for your company and to benefit not only yourself but also your co-founders, your investors, your employees, your customers and the public generally. You get to watch your enterprise grow and prosper. You get to watch it have an impact on others for good.

The satisfaction you can derive from success is a great intangible reward.

4. Finally, being a founder gives you the independence of being your own boss. You will rise or fall by your own merits. This is a great opportunity and a great challenge. This is the one advantage that most entrepreneurs will ultimately say they value most.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Founder

What does it take to be successful as a founder? Here are a few thoughts.

1. Above all else, build from strength.

Be prepared before you venture out. Get a strong education. Work with the best to get excellent training in your field. Master your craft. Build relationships. Take what you do best and improve upon it. That is the key to innovation. And this is the best path for most founders.

Or you might build on the strength of exceptional entrepreneurial talent alone. Or a specialized skill that lets you team with others who supply what you might lack. Nothing formulaic here. But you do need to build on some form of strength.

This also means that you do not venture out based on a bare idea. Try this one from the bubble era: “I have worked one year in manufacturing and know how to revolutionize that field through an idea I have for a website.” Sorry, but abstract ideas get you nowhere.

It also means you do not do something just because you are tired of something else. Think twice about that romantic little tea shop. That is, unless you know about the business of tea shops. Others do, and they will make you pay. Know what you are doing before you step into something.

No one will carry you when you go out on your own. Therefore, be ready to build on something you do exceptionally well. That is your primary key to success as a founder.

2. Count the cost before you venture out.

You need the right temperament to go into business for yourself. If you crave security and certainty, being a founder is not for you.

Don’t romanticize the process either. Business is tough. You will lose the certainty of a regular paycheck. You will have bills to pay, whether or not you are making money. You will face a non-stop array of challenges, everything from people issues to financial pressures to competitor challenges to legal disputes to huge psychological pressures to all manner of other obstacles. When you get past all of this, or at least most it, you will have built “good will” — that is, a going concern value for your venture. Good will is really nothing more than the advantages you gain from the blood you have spilled. It is a huge plus that makes your business better than others. But you will have to spill blood over it. Understand this up front and be prepared to pay the necessary costs.

It follows, of course, that if you are not ready to pay the costs you should stick with the steady job.

3. When you launch, try to do so with a multi-talented team.

There is no fixed rule here. Experience confirms, though, that a team will be far more likely to succeed than will a sole founder. This may be just another way of saying that, if something is truly good, others will be drawn to it. More likely, it is another way of saying that launching and building a successful venture is hard to do and you need a multi-talented team to make it happen. Where you cannot supply everything, others will supply what you lack.

4. Make sure you have a sound business model.

Technical innovations are great but, in themselves, cannot normally sustain a venture. Sometimes, they can be sold or licensed to a large company. Nothing wrong with that. In most cases, though technology will not be enough.

With or without key technology, if a venture is to be successful, it must have a sound business model that allows it to build and sustain a meaningful competitive advantage that makes it consistently profitable.

Without that, you will go nowhere, no matter how innovative this or that element of your venture may be.

5. Watch your expenses.

Wasteful spending is perhaps the single biggest fault of early-stage companies.

Small business entrepreneurs have far less difficulty with this than do startup founders. Why? Because they usually are dealing with their own money. If you know what it took to earn it in the first place, the odds of your being profligate with it are greatly reduced.

One aspect of wasteful spending is simply extravagance. You get funded and you go out and get the best that money can buy. Expensive offices. Extravagant salaries. Lavish parties. And on and on. In early-stage companies, you will regret such spending when you hit the bumps in the road where you wish you had that cash. Inevitably, you will hit such bumps. Plan accordingly.

Another side to wasteful spending, though, comes from not focusing your efforts properly in the early stages. You have ten great things you want to do as a company. You don’t make good judgments about which of these to focus on. You spend on all of them. In short order, your funds are dissipated before you can build a reasonable revenue stream.

Use good judgment about where you can best use your limited funds and use them wisely.

6. Plan your legal roll-out carefully.

Don’t front-load unnecessary legal expenses. When you are ready for a meaningful launch, though, do your setup properly.

If you have a founding team, make sure you give serious thought to using restricted stock as opposed to outright stock grants when making grants to founders. In other words, keep strings on the stock until it is earned unless there is some exceptional reason not to. Use cheap stock to avoid tax problems. Get the IP into the company. Get employment and consulting agreements in place, making sure all IP from such arrangements goes to the company. Review your trademark issues in connection with any branding you will do. File provisional patents as applicable. When you are ready to bring on a broader team, set up an equity incentive plan.

Work closely with a good business lawyer to do the legal steps right.

7. Fund your company incrementally where possible.

The worst trap an early-stage company can fall into is one where it gets over-extended. Plan intelligently to avoid this trap.

Work with early-stage investors or have a reserve of your own funds to carry you through the phases before you have meaningful revenues.

Don’t put yourself in a position where you are out of options except for shopping your opportunity to VCs. You will either not get funded (the most likely outcome) or you will get slaughtered in the terms of the funding.

Conclusion

Think carefully before venturing forth as a founder. The rewards can be great but you need to be ready to deal with the challenges. If you believe you are, a big, open world of opportunity awaits you.

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The Art of Personal Letter Writing: 7 Basic Elements

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When was the last time you received a personal letter that was not sent by email, but regular snail mail? What type of attitude did it put you in when you received a nice handwritten letter or note outside of the stack of bills that sometimes become daily accessory items for your mailbox? After retrieving a huge box filled with an array of high school and college items from my mother’s house, I found at the very bottom, a smaller box containing letters previously written to me from some of my old friends. There must have been about fifty letters in this box before I discarded them. I couldn’t resist this last opportunity to read every one of them again. After about an hour of non-stop reading, I made a cup of hot tea and sat down to continue my journey “back down memory lane.” I remember rewriting most of my letters, especially if I made a spelling mistake or if my sentence structure wasn’t as I intended it to be. Judging from the amount of paper I wasted on editing, you would think that I was mailing them to a major book publisher instead of a friend!

Letter writing created a manifestation of memories bridging the distance between the sender and recipient. People were as meticulous about picking out decorative stationary to write their letters on, as much as the letter itself. This connection through written communication promoted the exchange of conversation, creativity and artistic expression.

The standard format that I followed practically every time I wrote a letter to my friends, immediate family who lived out of town, old sweethearts or occasionally some of my favorite teachers, was composed of the following basic elements:

1. The Heading (Name and Address)

2. Date

3. The Greeting (Dear So and So)

4. The Body (The message you are writing to the recipient)

5. The Closing (Sincerely, Yours Truly)

6. Your Signature

7. Post Script (There is the occasional comment that was not mentioned in the Body of your letter, but made after the signature, called the P.S. or P.S.S. The P.S.S. was an additional post script).

Sometimes on the back flap of the envelope, the writer would put a smiley face or an acronym like S.W.A.K. (Sealed With A Kiss) which indicated that a love letter was enclosed.

Penmanship in elementary school was extremely important years ago. It came as a surprise to me and some of my friends who are parents that cursive writing is not taught in most schools anymore. Therefore, the meticulousness and pride taken in one’s penmanship is not as evident today as it was when I was growing up. But a personalized letter or note makes you stop, sit down, read and appreciate the thoughtfulness behind the folded message. Personalized letters displayed a unique voice, taste and style. It showed that a lot of thought, even if it wasn’t especially pleasant, went into the written expression.

So why not do something out of the ordinary and make someone smile today by writing a personalized letter to them instead of an electronic one. The memories will be worth the effort, especially if the person is miles away. You will get a great deal of satisfaction from simply taking a few minutes to write an endearing personal message whether on some nice stationary or not. That would be a special gift and welcomed relief for someone to receive in the mailbox amid the endless bills.

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The Incentive of Posting On 100% Free Internet Classified Advertising Websites

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Online Classifieds Rather Than Newspapers

Throughout this article we are going to discuss some details pertaining to the importance of web based classified advertising above the newspaper press classified listing. For starters the printed media regarding classified advertising consists of newspapers, national magazines also know as the free ad service magazines. When you think far more comprehensive, you may find a serious disadvantage of the classified listings, that are often posted within the normal newsprint. More or less the typical citizens do not have the desire to read through the daily newspaper just after the actual distribution date. Anytime the classified posting is produced in a normal paper, then there’s every possibility that the consumer of the particular classified ad becomes obsolete following the day of the papers distribution. Furthermore,, a selected local newspaper is absolutely not a universal news media. The degree of the presence location of a newspaper is mainly state local level or at most a nationwide level.

Zero cost Classifieds Sites

Free campaigns is a good advertising approach to generate online traffic for free to ones web sites or any products or services you are promoting and marketing. Many individuals browse through free classified ads web sites for different services or products. Free classified advertising aim at shoppers more likely than others to buying a particular product or service. 100% free classified ads websites mostly are of two different types – some present an plan for upgrading your main free classified ad to a premium one, and for many others it remains totally cost-free. Totally free web based classified advertising internet pages get revenues by simply obtaining companies that like to add text back links and / or ads pointing to their internet pages. Internet classified advertising free internet websites which provide to insert free classified postings needs to have real individual human filtration systems. Websites that do not preserve their integrity in such a way won’t successfully become acknowledged as superior sites, even if they give the website without charge.

The Emerging Trend of Web Based Classified Ads

Classifieds may be identified as a different style of advertisement. Free classified sites often contain certain personal details, company particulars by any business, or the information pertaining to any sort of upcoming affair. Classified ads were often put to use to publish just in papers in the past. After that the classified ads had been offered to market by means of television or perhaps even the airwaves. Subsequently the Net grew to become the medium of submitting classified advertising. Today the world wide web element of classified advertising is exceptionally praised about the complete globe.

Added Benefits of Online Classified Ads

In addition, classified advertisements submitted within free of charge internet based marketing and advertising web pages along these lines offer you anyone long lasting rewards considering that your classified advertising is going to end up being indexed in the the major search engines. This gives consistent totally free site traffic to your internet business, product, service and also internet affiliate programs a long time from now. Take advantage of our absolutely free classified ads program beginning now by signing up with us now at Hampton Roads Classifieds List and start out developing long-lasting internet promotions added benefits to your internet business.

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Helpful Information Technology Training Courses

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There are a number of unique and helpful information technology training courses available these days. Some of them may be especially helpful to one’s business, depending on the needs of the business. Here are some examples.

1. Information technology leadership. Although many people aspire to work with information technology, it takes a special kind of person to fill a leadership role in this field. Many courses are now available to help cultivate such leadership skills.

2. VoIP technology. More and more business are moving away from the standard telephone systems that have been in use for decades. These businesses have found that VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) systems reduce both equipment and personnel costs. Thus, training courses in VoIP technology can make an information technology worker quite valuable.

3. Cloud computing. As access to the Internet becomes more universal, a number of industries-large and small-have found cloud computing to be a viable solution. Training courses cover such topics as planning, installation, maintenance, and security of a cloud computing infrastructure.

4. Business software utilization. Although business software is easier to use than ever before, it still requires a level of training in order to get the most out of these software programs. Most businesses could benefit from training courses on specific software programs they utilize. At the very least, key personnel may take some of these courses, and then provide training to other staff members.

5. Privacy compliance. More and more countries have enacted strict legislation regarding the collection and sharing of personal data. As a result, it has become increasingly important for businesses to make sure that their technological practices comply with these laws. Because privacy and data laws can be somewhat challenging to understand, training courses on these subjects are a vital part of information technology education.

6. Software development. Most information technology managers will admit that one of their biggest expenses is the purchasing, licensing, and upgrading of business software. For this reason, many companies opt to develop their own in-house software. Besides reducing expenses, internally developed software has the advantage of being custom made to suit the unique requirements and methods of operation at a particular company. Training courses in a variety of software development programs are now widely available.

7. Technical support. Although a large amount of technical support work has been outsourced to other countries, a number of companies still care for this work themselves. Thus, there is a need to train qualified support staff to handle day-to-day issues that arise, both in person and over the phone. Such training courses have proved invaluable to companies that prefer to handle their own technical support.

These are just a few of the numerous courses available. When evaluating such options, businesses do well to consider the size and needs of their particular company, the staff available, the cost of the training, and its potential benefit. They can thereby take full advantage of the exciting advances in information technology, harnessing these powerful tools while maximizing both efficiency and profitibility.

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Spotlight on 5 Rewarding Mental Health Careers

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Think about it: you make time to service your car. You make time to take your pets to the vet. You even make time to clean your house. But how often do you make time to check in on the state of your own mental health?

With health care reform laws expanding coverage for mental health and substance abuse services, more and more Americans will be able to seek the help they need to manage stress, deal with trauma, and improve their lives.

If you want to be one of those professionals who help people look after their mental and emotional health, consider a career in psychology, counseling, or social work. We’ve broken down five popular mental health careers and their degree requirements to help you get started.

Careers

When you think of mental health, a psychology career most likely comes to mind. Psychologists use their knowledge of the human mind and emotions to help patients deal with a wide range of issues, from serious psychological disorders to addiction and recovery to couples counseling.

How to Start a Psychology Career

Requirements for psychologists vary state to state, but as a minimum, you’ll need a Master’s degree in psychology to practice. Some states will require you to have a PhD.

Marriage and Family Therapist Careers

The dynamics of husband, wives and their children are unique, which is why marriage and family therapists are a specialized group of mental health workers. They spend their time in school learning how to read and diagnose different family dynamics and treat each family member, not just one individual.

How to Start a Marriage and Family Therapy Career

The majority of marriage and family therapists have a Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.

Guidance Counselor Careers

Growing up isn’t easy, which is why guidance counselors are hired by elementary, middle and high schools to help children and young adults throughout their educational careers. Guidance counselors make sure students are progressing mentally and emotionally, and will even assist during the college and career decision-making process.

How to Start a Guidance Counselor Career

Guidance counselors will need a Master’s degree in counseling to get started.

Rehabilitation Counselor Careers

Those who have physical, emotional or psychological disabilities need a unique kind of counseling. Rehabilitation counselors fill this need, using their skills to improve their quality of life and helping them live as independently as possible.

How to Start a Rehabilitation Career

Like the careers listed above, rehabilitation counselors need to have a Master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

Social Work Careers

Some of society’s toughest problems-child abuse, spousal abuse, homelessness, poverty, truancy-often go hand in hand. It’s the responsibility of social workers to help the men, women and children who are trapped in this complicated web of issues.

How to Start a Social Work Career

Social Workers need a master’s degree in social work to get started, and they generally also have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.

For more information on these careers and correlating degree programs, visit this health services career profiles page.

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Variety of Cleaning Approaches by Professional Commercial Carpet Cleaning Services

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Many commercial business companies with offices have carpets to create a professional look as well as for absorbing sounds to generate a more productive environment for their workers. First impressions are very important as one walks into any office with clean carpets and furniture.

Professional cleaning

Commercial business companies have big carpet pieces that require professional cleaning to keep it looking new and fresh. Commercial cleaning services use the best of cleaning resources and techniques to ensure a longer usage of the carpet to help the company save money as quality carpets are not cheap; even for a company.

There must be experienced and qualified cleaning experts who know how to handle different carpets in different commercial environments. The best of cleaning products must be applied using relevant equipment designed for cleaning them and not the common janitorial tools and detergent. There must be a proper identification of its type and size as well as the type of dirt exposed on them before a thorough cleaning is executed on the carpet.

Professional commercial carpet cleaners offer expert cleaning services that can lengthen the warranty of these. Commercial businesses with carpets to clean can request for a customized cleaning solution or package deal that benefits them. Flexibility is commonly exercised with commercial cleaning services to suit the working hours of the businesses to avoid disruption and inconvenience.

Types of cleaning methods

Different carpets would require different types of cleaning methods to ensure the continual functionality of the piece. One of the popular methods is hot water extraction with vacuuming to suck out all possible soap residues that might attract dirt.

Another carpet cleaning approach is bonnet cleaning where a buffing machine is used to pull in dirt from it. Only biodegradable solutions that are Eco-friendly are applied with minimal water to enjoy a more efficient cleaning.

Encapsulation is a new carpet cleaning process which applies a dry method without fragrances or volatile organic compounds. The cleaned carpet dries quickly after being cleaned. Carpet restoration is used on carpets that have deep stains formed over time due to improper maintenance. Re-soiled spots would be totally eradicated with a few cleaning applications to have the carpet restored to its original beauty and functionality.

There is also the anti-static control approach which is a special commercial carpet cleaning treatment used to reduce static charges on carpet. This is common in offices that have air conditioning which creates a dry environment.

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The Easy Way to Borrow Money in India As a National

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If you are an Indian national and have never borrowed money from a lender before, you might feel confused and intimidated by the prospect. The younger generations at least can easily begin to do this online, since they are more familiar with the virtual environment. The online opportunities are far more varied.

Why apply for loans online
First of all, it is extremely easy and fast. It only takes minutes to provide the lender the needed information and submit your application. Then, you need to wait to be approved, but with certain lenders that can be instant. The third and final stage is when the money is deposited straight into the borrower’s bank account. The entire process is automated, so the borrower does not have to meet any person in order to obtain the loan. Personal or business loans can be obtained on the Internet through the peer-to-peer lending system.

The kind of loans one can apply for
In India, it is possible to apply online for short or long term loans. The money obtained this way can be used for various purposes, such as marriage, education, car, land or home purchase and so on. Loans generally start at Rs. 10,000. Make sure to pay maximum attention when you agree on the repayments period – you must make sure you can make repayments as promised.

Eligibility criteria
To obtain a loan online without any hassle, just make sure you follow the guidelines. Also, you need to meet the eligibility criteria. Before applying, the individual needs to gather all the documents required. The PAN card will usually be necessary, as well as Aadhar card. The client must provide an address proof. The electricity bills required are not always a substitute for this proof of address. As soon as all the documents are gathered, the client should scan these and send the copies online in the provided form. Lenders require to see each client’s credit score before they decide whether to approve the loan or not. In addition, borrowers definitely need to have a valid bank account, so the money can be delivered. Nationality and residency are also important matters here. Applicants need to make proof of their Indian nationality.

How the Aadhar card helps
Having an Aadhar card can help you obtain a loan on fair terms. The purpose of the project involving it was to secure everyone’s social identity permanently. A card with a unique identification number holding biometric data can easily and accurately provide proof of identity and residency. It’s the perfect solution for today’s technological advancements that have also made quick online loans possible.

While an Aadhar card isn’t mandatory yet, it can make the entire loan application process a lot easier.

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